My happiness is substantially within her unhappiness; my corporeal well-being is part of a larger mode of embodiment in which her corporeal misery is a vital organ…the ethical imperative is not to put oneself in the child’s place…Le Guin rejects the ethics of empathy.” (Povinelli 511).By doing this, Le Guin also tries to make the reader reject this natural human capability.However, they were still able to adapt to normal life.
It’s far too helpless, far too institutionalized, far too stupid. This secret bunker does not seem too different from the cellar described in the story.
When Fritzl’s victims were freed, they were extremely pale and suffered from anemia, vitamin d deficiencies, and underdeveloped immune systems.
If the child were freed, it would supposedly lead to the destruction of this great city, therefore keeping it there is for the greater good. Le Guinn presents us with a moral crossroads, a true question of ethics that is left open ended. They may choose to sympathize with the people of Omelas and agree with the narrator.
Or, they may choose to make the revelation that there should be no happiness founded on the misery of others and blindness to truth, and if there is, that happiness is hollow.
Omelasian morality seems to be based on the idealistic nature of their society. It might even be encouraged, perhaps with the addition of drugs and alcohol.
Take this line, “Let tambourines be struck above the copulations, and the glory of desire be proclaimed upon the gongs, and let the offspring of these delightful rituals be beloved and looked after by all.” (Le Guin 1550).She tries to make one sympathize with and admire the resolve of the people of Omelas—“It is because of the child that they are so gentle with children.” (1552).If Le Guin’s message was that using the “greater good” model was viable to a successful society, it is very blatantly laid out in this passage.From this we can see that pleasure in Omelas, no matter how over-the-top, should be celebrated.In our society, producing a child from fornication is frowned upon and discouraged, but in Omelas it is embraced fully.To further visualize this concept, one may use this example: if an individual believes a lie with enough intensity, no matter how erroneous it is, that statement starts to sound true in his or her head.Collins furthers his support for this idea by saying, “If the child’s suffering is not made rational, the Omelasians’ acquiescence is rationalized.” (528).Not only this, but she asserts that the child is too “imbecile” to recognize love anymore; it has grown too used to the darkness of the cellar to ever revert back to normal civilized life. Continuing this abusive treatment of it is for the good of the order, isn’t it?At every turn, she finds a way to argue against compassion and in favor of causing pain; she portrays the assessment the Omelasians make of the child to be so logical and responsible that even the reader starts to buy into it. The narrator makes it extremely easy to side with the Omelasians, providing “rational” explanation for their actions and even going so far as to try and tug at the reader’s heartstrings by saying the citizens are not free themselves.The atmosphere is rich with music, festivities, and orgies.And even with all this excessive indulgence, the people manage to remain elite: expert craftsman in every art, scholars of the highest caliber, gentle mothers and fathers, and all-around good people. The success and happiness of Omelas stems from the immense and intentional suffering of one person: a small child who lives in a dark cellar and is continuously abused and neglected by the citizens.