The Role Of Literature In The Ones Who Walk Away From Omelas

Decent Essays
The world of written works is one with many divisions and sub-divisions. While non-fiction books seek to inform people about the realities of the world, fiction books include the elements of imagination and hypotheticals. Under the large banner of fiction works is that of literature. What sets it apart from what is considered genre fiction is still debated, but it is generally said that literature is the type read for more than just entertainment. Rather, going by this definition, literature is an introspective look on both oneself and on humanity. Literature is studied because people live by considering what could happen later on. People often think about future possibilities because it is useful for planning. Ordinarily, they do not have the opportunity to explore…show more content…
Rather, it poses questions that lead people to take an active role in pondering the effects of moral dilemmas. In "The Ones Who Walk Away from Omelas," the idea of utilitarianism is challenged. The story presents the idea of one child who continuously suffers for the happiness of society by living in a “room … about three paces long and two wide: a mere broom closet or disused tool room” (Le Guin 3). While it seems unlikely for this to actually occur, literature allows for the scenario to come to life. When pushed to the extremes, there becomes no room for concessions like those in everyday occurrences. The question is not of what sweatshops can do to both to help workers while feeding the consumerist society in wealthy countries, which is what practical-minded people would suggest. Rather, people become free to ask whether it is right for someone to suffer for others at all in the hypothetical realm literature brings. There will inevitably be many disagreements about the work of literature, but it is one’s own understanding that counts because that person’s thoughts on the story will reflect how he or she deals with the moral challenges in
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