What does "The Ones Who Walk Away from Omelas" say about the conditions of happiness? "The Ones Who Walk Away from Omelas" by Ursula LeGuin

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LeGuin's disclaimer, "How is one to tell about joy?" leaves the defining of happiness to the reader who becomes involved in the creation of an alternative reality.  With her suggestions of adding something or taking away--"it doesn't matter," and "for those who like it" draw the reader into the moral responsibility as a creator of the utopia.

So, what does the story say about happiness?  It seems to place the responsibility of creating happiness into the realm of the reader.  Thus, it becomes an existential question as the reader must decide if happiness is contingent upon a scapegoat or if one must create one's own happiness out of the ashes of one's own misery.

This is such a great question.  While there are severe social and political strands present in the short story, there is another moral thread present about what constitutes happiness.  The question that LeGuin seems to pose is whether or now an individual can be happy, knowing that there is suffering present amidst their...

(The entire section contains 2 answers and 626 words.)

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