The Ones Who Walked Away from Omelas by Ursula Le Guin

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The Ones Who Walked Away from Omelas

The Ones Who Walked Away from Omelas is a short story written by Ursula Le Guin. In her story, Le Guin creates a model Utilitarian society in which the majority of its citizens are devoid of suffering; allowing them to become an expressive, artistic population. Le Guin’s unrelenting pursuit of making the reader imagine a rich, happy and festival abundant society mushrooms and ultimately climaxes with the introduction of the outlet for all of Omelas’ avoided misfortune. Le Guin then introduces a coming of age ritual in which innocent adolescents of the city are made aware of the byproduct of their happiness. She advances with a scenario where most of these adolescents are extremely burdened at
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Subsequently, the area surrounding the determinant for who is locked away are muddy waters because the short story is explicit in saying that the child “has not always lived in the tool room” (233).

A Kantian ethics response to Le Guin’s short story and the Utilitarian principles Omelas embodies consists mainly of an adaptation of Kant’s “Categorical Imperative.”

The First Proposition of Morality (the distinction between “acting from duty” and acting merely “in accordance with duty” but from a “direct” or “indirect inclination”)

The First Formulation of the Categorical Imperative: Universal Law

The Second Formulation of the Categorical Imperative: Humanity as an End in Itself”

Kant’s “fourth illustration” concerning the prosperous person who witnesses “great wretchedness,” (especially important in thinking about those citizens of Omelas who leave the city, walking away from its problems.

“All rational beings stand under the law, that each should treat himself and others, never simply as means, but always at the same time as ends in themselves.” That is the Categorical Imperative, the moral principle posited by the German philosopher Immanuel Kant. Before the imperative is applied to the Omelas story, the term “rational beings” should be defined. Kant states that rational beings “...are called persons, because their very nature shows them to be ends in themselves, that is, something which cannot be made
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