In the story by Ursula LeGuin we’ve read, the narrator describes an imaginary city, Omelas, which is a Utopia. The existence of this Utopia rests on one condition – the child who is kept, alone and miserable, in the cellar. All residents of the city are aware of the child, and of the condition. The only options are to accept the situation and live with it, or to walk away into an unknown future. The story asks: do you believe it is acceptable to sacrifice the one child in the basement for the perfect happiness of the entire rest of the city?Here is the prompt for this essay:Do you believe it is acceptable to sacrifice some for the benefit of many more? Why or why not?What the essay must include:A brief, basic explanation of the facts – What the story is about and what the problem is;An introductory paragraph that introduces the main issue in the essay but does not mention the story “Omelas.”Discussion and support of your position, using clear arguments;Two outside research sources that will be used to support your position and which have in-text citations when they are used;A Works Cited page, in proper format, that includes MLA citations for the story and for any outside sources you use;A finished, proofread and edited drafts turned in on time and in formatThe essay has a 1500-word minimum length. Essays not meeting the word-length minimum will receive a completion credit between 25-45 points at my discretion.It must include a Works Cited page, which includes any source you use in the essay. You may use any of the research sources I provide on Eagle Online. I will give you the correct MLA citation for the story “Omelas.”The essay must contain at least two acceptable, relevant research sources, with at least two direct cited quotes from that source. The source material must help explain or support what you are saying. See below for more on this.RELEVANCE:- It must be clear how the research material you use helps explain or support what you are saying in some way that is useful or necessary. That means you must tell us what it means and why it is important.- Do not use research sources or quotes to state commonly known or inarguable facts.- Do not use quotes that come from Wikiquote, Brainy Quotes, or any other “quotation-aggregator.”- Dictionary definitions, encyclopedia entries, and Wikipedia entries do not count as research. (Wikipedia entries can be very useful for links and general information, but never use Wikipedia as a cited source.)- “Note” sites such as Schmoop, SparkNotes, etc. cannot be used or cited as research. Free-essay sites such as 123helpme also cannot be used and should never be part of your essay in any way.- Do not plagiarize. If you are using the words of a source, use quotation marks. If you are using just the ideas of a source, it still must be cited in the text.Everything I am asking you to do is within your capabilities. If you don’t understand what something means, ask, or look somewhere else for a simpler explanation. Don’t forget to edit and proofread for a final draft – do not turn in your first draft.PLEASE FOLLOW EXACTLY THIS ORDER:1. Introduction: something that gets a reader’s attention and gives that reader an idea of what the main idea(s) or theme of the essay will be. (1 paragraph)2. Objective Description: the story “Omelas” — what it is, what the moral/ethical question is that it asks, your position on that question, and the reason(s) you hold that position. (1-2 paragraphs)4. Discussion of how the moral/ethical dilemma of “Omelas” applies to real life that we actually live. Here is a place to use evidence and example(s), such as the Rana Plaza video. (1-2 paragraphs)5. What is your position here — in “real life,” do you still have the same response you did in your thesis? Why or why not? Here is where your thesis statement will appear. (1-2 paragraphs)6. Conclusion: where you wrap up and leave the readers with the main ideas you want them to have.7. Works Cited page containing all the sources used and cited in the essay, following the example format I provided.Where research can be used:I am asking you to use two research sources, in addition to the story “Omelas.” The research can be used to:1. Support or help explain why you take the position you have about whether it is acceptable to trade the one child’s happiness for a whole society’s happiness;2. Show a real-life example of a situation that’s like that trade-off, such as in the links I provided to situations like coffee-farming;3. Support or help you explain why you think it is acceptable or not, in real life, to make that trade-off.Remember two things about research and citation:Anything you use from any outside source, whether you are quoting it or restating it in your own words, must have in in-text citation showing which source it comes from. I have provided examples and links for how to do this.Your Works Cited must contain MLA-format citations for all research sources you use, including the story “Omelas.” I have provided a sample Works Cited, and examples and links for MLA format.You can also use the library (the HCC library has a chat function for questions) and the online tutoring to help you with citations, quoting, and MLA format.It is important to notice the difference between objective and subjective.The description of adobe is objective: it is a factual description in technical terms. The things it says are objectively true and not dependent on anyone’s personal point of view or experience.The rest of the paragraph is a subjective description of one person’s sensory experience. You are seeing, hearing, smelling what the narrator does, from his or her point of view, and it would be different — and be described differently — depending on who was writing it.”Star Wars has a main character named Luke Skywalker” is an objective statement. It’s factually true regardless of who is watching it.”Star Wars is a good movie” is a subjective statement. Whether this is true or not depends on the speaker’s feelings.”An orange is round, and a fruit that grows on a tree, and has a peel” are objective statements.”Oranges are the sweetest and best-tasting fruit, and they always remind me of home” are subjective statements.USING TITLES IN YOUR TEXTWhen titles of works appear in your essay, please follow these standard rules. The rules apply every time the titles appear, including in citations.Titles of films, albums/CDs, books, names of newspapers and magazines, websites: ITALICS, NO QUOTATION MARKS.The New York TimesGood Girl Gone BadPurple RainStar WarsWikipedia(These are”whole works,” or what MLA format calls “containers”)Titles of stories, essays, poems, book chapters, newspaper and magazine articles, song titles: QUOTATION MARKS, NO ITALICS.”Oil Prices Rise On War Fears””When Doves Cry”
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“The Ones Who Walk Away From Omelas”
By Ursula K. LeGuin
The Festival of Summer came to the city Omelas, bright-towered by the sea. The rigging of the
boats in harbour sparkled with flags. In the streets between houses with red roofs and painted walls,
between old moss-grown gardens and under avenues of trees, past great parks and public buildings,
processions wound towards the north side of the city, where on the great water-meadow called the Green
Fields boys and girls, naked in the bright air, with mud-stained feet and ankles and long, lithe arms,
exercised their horses before the race. The horses wore no gear at all but a halter without bit. Their manes
were braided with streamers of silver, gold, and green.
Far off to the north and west the mountains stood up half encircling Omelas on her bayThere was
just enough wind to make the banners that marked the racecourse snap and flutter now and then. In the
silence of the broad green meadows one could hear the music winding through the city streets. Joyous!
How is one to tell about joy? How describe the citizens of Omelas?
They were not simple folk, you see, though they were happy. There was no king. They did not use
swords, or keep slaves. They were not barbarians. As they did without monarchy and slavery, so they also
got on without the stock exchange, the advertisement, the secret police, and the bomb.
Yet I repeat that these were not simple folk, not shepherds, noble savages, bland utopians. They
were not less complex than us. How can I tell you about the people of Omelas? They were not naive and
happy children – though their children were, in fact, happy. They were mature, intelligent, passionate adults
whose lives were not wretched.
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. For instance, how about technology? I think that there would be no cars or
helicopters in and above the streets; this follows from the fact that the people of Omelas are happy people.
Happiness is based on a just discrimination of what is necessary, what is neither necessary nor destructive,
and what is destructive. In the middle category, however – that of the unnecessary but indestructive, that of
comfort, luxury, exuberance, etc. – they could perfectly well have central heating, subway trains, washing
machines, and all kinds of marvellous devices not yet invented here, floating light-sources, fuelless power,
a cure for the common cold. Or they could have none of that: it doesn’t matter. As you like it. I fear that
Omelas so far strikes some of you as goody-goody. Smiles, bells, parades, horses, bleh. If so, please add an
But really it would be better not to have any temples in Omelas – at least, not manned temples.
Religion yes, clergy no. And let us do away with soldiers, for war is unknown. One thing I know there is
none of in Omelas is guilt. But what else should there be? For those who like it, the faint insistent
sweetness of drooz may perfume the ways of the city, drooz which first brings a great lightness and
brilliance to the mind and limbs, and then after some hours a dreamy languor, and wonderful visions at last
of the very arcana and inmost secrets of the Universe, as well as exciting the pleasure of sex beyond all
belief; and it is not habit-forming. For more modest tastes I think there ought to be beer.
Most of the processions have reached the Green Fields by now. A marvellous smell of cooking
goes forth from the red and blue tents of the provisioners. All at once a trumpet sounds from the pavilion
near the starting line. The horses rear on their slender legs, and some of them neigh in answer. Sober-faced,
the young riders stroke the horses’ necks and soothe them. The Festival of Summer has begun.
Now let me describe one more thing.
In a basement under one of the beautiful public buildings of Omelas, there is a room. It has one
locked door, and no window. A little light seeps in dustily between cracks in the boards, second-hand from
a cobwebbed window somewhere across the cellar. In one corner of the little room a couple of mops, with
stiff, clotted, foul-smelling heads, stand near a rusty bucket. The room is about three paces long and two
wide: a mere broom closet.
In the room a child is sitting. It looks about six, but actually is nearly ten. It is feeble-minded.
Perhaps it was born defective, or perhaps it has become imbecile through fear, malnutrition, and neglect. It
picks its nose and occasionally fumbles vaguely with its toes as it sits hunched in the corner farthest from
the bucket and the two mops. It is afraid of the mops. It finds them horrible. It shuts its eyes, but it knows
the mops are still standing there; and the door is locked; and nobody will come.
The door is always locked; and nobody ever comes, except that sometimes the door rattles terribly
and opens, and a person, or several people, are there. They never come close, but peer in at it with
frightened, disgusted eyes. The food bowl and the water jug are hastily filled, the door is locked, the eyes
disappear. The people at the door never say anything, but the child, who has not always lived in the tool
room, and can remember sunlight and its mother’s voice, sometimes speaks. “I will be good,” it says.
“Please let me out. I will be good!” They never answer. The child used to scream for help at night, and cry
a good deal, but now it only makes a kind of whining, “eh-haa, eh-haa,” and it speaks less and less often. It
is so thin there are no calves to its legs; its belly protrudes; it lives on a half-bowl of corn meal and grease a
day. It is naked and covered with scabs.
They all know it is there, all the people of Omelas. They all know that it has to be there. They all
understand that their happiness, the beauty of their city, the tenderness of their friendships, the health of
their children, the wisdom of their scholars, the skill of their makers, even the abundance of their harvest
and the kindly weathers of their skies, depend wholly on this child’s abominable misery.
This is usually explained to children when they are between eight and twelve, whenever they seem
capable of understanding; and most of those who come to see the child are young people. No matter how
well the matter has been explained to them, these young spectators are always shocked and sickened at the
sight. They feel anger, outrage, impotence, despite all the explanations. They would like to do something
for the child. But there is nothing they can do. If the child were brought up into the sunlight out of that vile
place, if it were cleaned and fed and comforted, that would be a good thing, indeed; but if it were done, in
that day and hour all the prosperity and beauty and delight of Omelas would wither and be destroyed.
Those are the terms. To exchange all the goodness and grace of every life in Omelas for that single, small
improvement: to throw away the happiness of thousands for the chance of the happiness of one: that would
be to let guilt within the walls indeed.
The terms are strict and absolute; there may not even be a kind word spoken to the child. Often the
young people go home in tears, or in a tearless rage, when they have seen the child and faced this terrible
paradox. They may brood over it for weeks or years. But as time goes on they begin to realize that even if
the child could be released, it would not get much good of its freedom: a little vague pleasure of warmth
and food, no doubt, but little more. It is too degraded and imbecile to know any real joy. It has been afraid
too long ever to be free of fear. Its habits are too uncouth for it to respond to humane treatment. Indeed,
after so long it would probably be wretched without walls about it to protect it, and darkness for its eyes,
and its own excrement to sit in. Their tears at the bitter injustice dry when they begin to perceive the
terrible justice of reality, and to accept it. It is the existence of the child, and their knowledge of its
existence, that makes possible the nobility of their architecture, the poignancy of their music, the profundity
of their science.
There is one more thing to tell, and this is quite incredible. At times one of the adolescent girls or
boys who go to see the child does not go home to weep or rage, does not, in fact, go home at all. Sometimes
also a man or woman much older falls silent for a day or two, and then leaves home. These people go out
into the street, and walk down the street alone. They keep walking, and walk straight out of the city of
Omelas, through the beautiful gates. They keep walking across the farmlands of Omelas. Each one goes
alone, youth or girl, man or woman. Night falls; the traveller must pass down village streets, between the
houses with yellow-lit windows, and on out into the darkness of the fields. Each alone, they go west or
north, towards the mountains. They go on. 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. But they seem to know where they
are going, the ones who walk away from Omelas.

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