Omelas, whose prosperity depends on the perpetual misery of a single child. 1975, and has been frequently anthologized elsewhere. It has also appeared as an independently published, those who walk away from omelas pdf-page hardcover book for young adults in 1993.
In Omelas, the summer solstice is celebrated with a glorious festival and a race featuring young people on horseback. Omelas has no kings, soldiers, priests, or slaves. The specific socio-politico-economic setup of the community is not mentioned, but the narrator merely explains that the reader cannot be sure of every particular. Omelas sounds in my words like a city in a fairy tale, long ago and far away, once upon a time. Perhaps it would be best if you imagined it as your own fancy bids, assuming it will rise to the occasion, for certainly I cannot suit you all. Everything about Omelas is so abundantly pleasing that the narrator decides the reader is not yet truly convinced of its existence and so elaborates upon one final element of the city: its one atrocity. The city’s constant state of serenity and splendor requires that a single unfortunate child be kept in perpetual filth, darkness, and misery.
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