The people of Omelas

Outer characterization

The short story “The Ones Who Walk Away from Omelas” by Ursula K. Le Guin focuses on the people of Omelas, who are described collectively. Their outer characterization reveals that they are diverse in terms of physical appearance and age. There are “old people in long stiff robes of mauve and grey, grave master workmen, quiet, merry women carrying their babies”(p. 35, ll. 6-8) but also “boys and girls, naked in the bright air, with mud-stained feet and ankles and long, lithe arms” (p. 36, ll. 5-6). This shows that they are like any other community when it comes to age, gender, and diversity. 

However, they do not have many of the destructive things that modern societies have, such as “cars or helicopters” (p. 36, l. 7). They also lack kings, slaves, or soldiers, the stock exchange, and bombs (p. 36, ll. 28-35). They do, however, have trains and subways and even “marvelous devices not yet invent...

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