In "The Ones Who Walk Away From Omelas" what is meant in the following quote?"The trouble is that we have a bad habit, encouraged by pedants and sophisticates, of considering happiness as something...

In "The Ones Who Walk Away From Omelas" what is meant in the following quote?

"The trouble is that we have a bad habit, encouraged by pedants and sophisticates, of considering happiness as something rather stupid. Only pain is intellectual, only evil interesting. This is the treason of the artist: a refusal to admit the banality of evil and the terrible boredom of pain."

Asked on by keith40

1 Answer | Add Yours

accessteacher's profile pic

accessteacher | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted on

The quote you have identified above is where the author compares our own society and culture to the society of Omelas, where happiness rules. The narrator argues that in our society happiness is something that is not greatly to be prized and that happiness to us is regarded as something that is "stupid." We regard only pain and evil as worthy of note and states that are to be desired. The big failing of artists, the speaker argues, is that they refuse to acknowledge that actually pain and evil are rather boring.

What the speaker is trying to do is to emphasise the happiness of the people of Omelas by trying to anticipate our reactions to it and argue that our own prediliction in our society for pain and suffering should not help us to underestimate the happiness of the people of Omelas or think that they are somehow less sophisticated or different from us. This passage helps to pre-empt some of the arguments that the speaker feels we will have when we hear about Omelas and also compares our world to that of Omelas.

Sources:

We’ve answered 318,912 questions. We can answer yours, too.

Ask a question