What is a hook for a compare and contrast essay on "The Ones Who Walk Away from Omelas" and happiness and suffering?

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A hook is an opening to an essay that pulls a reader in and keeps her reading. Some examples of hooks from writing experts William Zinsser (On Writing Well) and John Trimble (Writing With Style ) include the following: asking a provocative question, starting with description, beginning...

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A hook is an opening to an essay that pulls a reader in and keeps her reading. Some examples of hooks from writing experts William Zinsser (On Writing Well) and John Trimble (Writing With Style) include the following: asking a provocative question, starting with description, beginning with a startling fact, starting with a quote, or beginning with with an anecdote (a little story).

You have several ways you can go with contrasting happiness and suffering. A quote from the middle of the story about the little girl who lives in filth ought to catch readers' attention, and you could follow it with a question like this: could you ever really be happy knowing that your happiness came from the suffering of an innocent child? Or you could simply begin with a question or a description of suffering that is not a quote—you will have to decide what works best for you.

What you want to do is establish that the "happiness" the citizens of Omelas are said to experience—the beauty of their festivals and landscapes and their comfortable lives—is an illusion, because anyone in the culture who is not a sociopath has to live constantly with the unease that their happiness is built on another person's pain. You could open with a hook that ties this to real world suffering: could Germans who lived well during the Nazi era truly have been happy if they knew Jews were being slaughtered? Or you could perhaps find a quote from Ta-Nehesi Coates who argues in Between the World and Me that white comfort in the US was built on slavery and genocide. Le Guin's main point is that utilitarianism—the greatest good for the greatest number—is morally wrong: even one person suffering means that nobody can truly be happy.

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