The Ones Who Walk Away from Omelas

by

Ursula K. Le Guin

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The Ones Who Walk Away from Omelas Character Analysis

The narrator never reveals specific information about the individual characters of the people who decide to walk away from Omelas—only that they are all ages and genders. What unites them is their decision to reject the terms of their society. By choosing to reject this city and its structure (which requires a child’s perpetual torture), they must reject all the benefits of Omelas by leaving the city, permanently. They must walk away in silence, alone, into the darkness that lies beyond Omelas. Le Guin never reveals any views about the ones who walk away—whether they are “better” or more morally upstanding than the other citizens of Omelas—nor does she reveal what, exactly, lies beyond Omelas. The narrator notes that such a place is difficult (if not impossible) to imagine. And yet, the ones who walk away seem to leave Omelas with a sense of purpose. They seem to know where they are going. Thus, the ones who walk away symbolize those who reject the idea that the oppression of others is the necessary precondition of their own happiness, and in doing so turn their backs on the very project of organized society—at least in any of the forms it has taken in human history to date.

The Ones Who Walk Away from Omelas Quotes in The Ones Who Walk Away from Omelas

The The Ones Who Walk Away from Omelas quotes below are all either spoken by The Ones Who Walk Away from Omelas or refer to The Ones Who Walk Away from Omelas. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
Individual vs Society Theme Icon
). Note: all page numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the Orion edition of The Ones Who Walk Away from Omelas published in 2015.
The Ones Who Walk Away from Omelas Quotes

They leave Omelas, they walk ahead into the darkness, and they do not come back. The place they go towards is a place even less imaginable to most of us than the city of happiness. I cannot describe it at all. It is possible that it does not exist.

Related Characters: The Narrator (speaker), The Ones Who Walk Away from Omelas
Related Symbols: The Darkness
Page Number: 262
Explanation and Analysis:
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The Ones Who Walk Away from Omelas Character Timeline in The Ones Who Walk Away from Omelas

The timeline below shows where the character The Ones Who Walk Away from Omelas appears in The Ones Who Walk Away from Omelas. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
The Ones Who Walk Away from Omelas
Individual vs Society Theme Icon
Imagination and Allegory Theme Icon
...life in Omelas—something they can only do by leaving the city, alone, in total silence. These citizens walk into the darkness beyond Omelas and never come back. The narrator does not know... (full context)