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The Ones Who Walk Away from Omelas Hardcover – April, 1997


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Product Details

  • Age Range: 9 and up
  • Series: Creative Short Stories
  • Hardcover: 32 pages
  • Publisher: Creative Education (April 1997)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0886825016
  • ISBN-13: 978-0886825010
  • Product Dimensions: 8.8 x 6.2 x 0.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8.8 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,563,250 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

25 of 29 people found the following review helpful By Adeba on July 1, 2008
Format: Hardcover
It's curious that so many reviewers identify so uncritically with those who walk away. I think that is the base-note of the story - having enough wit to see wrong but not enough imagination/courage to change it.

A friend of mine teaches this story in college. There is a goose-bump moment when one student comprehends why the story is named what it is and what it is actually naming. The ones who walk away are defined not by their refusal to be cruel but by their refusal to do anything about it.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Monkey Momma on February 25, 2012
Format: Hardcover
I want to state that this review may contain spoilers. . . .

Many years ago, my 8th grade teacher gave out a copy of this story to everyone in class. It is really unlike anything I ever read. It's been nearly two decades since I've read this and I remember it clearly. It is profound and accurately describes a horrific flaw in human nature. It is also a story that I don't think people can truly grasp until adulthood.

After reading this story, my teacher had the class discuss what they would have done if they had been part of this society. Everyone in class stated that they would have left as they would have felt too guilty knowing that their happiness was a result of one person's suffering. Nobody seemed to realize that walking away did nothing to ease the suffering of the child.

Not one person mentioned that they would take the effort to change things. It's really not all that different in real life. Our world has so much suffering so a select few can live comfortable lives. We all turn our backs to it since we can't see it. We hear stories about blood diamonds, slavery, child labor, etc. What's even worse is that there are people who refuse to step forward when the suffering is right in front of them. People refuse to help our homeless, fail to report child abuse, blame victims, etc.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Rob Zarza on September 5, 2011
Format: Hardcover
I found this story to be one of the most relevent stories on the modern human condition. I believe we are, to some extent the people in Omelas. Every time we drive by the homeless, every time we walk by the sick, every time we oooh and ahhh about something we see on television. But we still walk away. I think many people think that the people who walk away are the honorable ones in the story. I whole heartedly disagree. The one's who walk away are just as guilty as the ones who stay. They walked away and did nothing = the ones who stay and ejoy the "happiness."
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12 of 14 people found the following review helpful By internet native on August 1, 2012
Format: Hardcover
There is no need to spend huge amounts of money to read the book, unless having a bound copy is important to you. The text is online now as a PDF document.
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11 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Alessandro Ussia on October 24, 2005
Format: Hardcover
This short story place the reader in front of a fantastic city of happiness. However, this is not a fairy tale, and if only you go deeper (no great effort, I ensure you, as this is the goal of the writer) you will start wondering about the sense of happiness and sorrow, good and evil, life and death. There is no simple explaination of these themes, nor a simple corrispondence between fictional and real conceps. If you need an explanation, this is not the place to look. But if you want a suggestion, read this story, because it's worth it.
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11 of 13 people found the following review helpful By SunrizDC on November 16, 2004
Format: Hardcover
This is a story that haunts you long after you've read it and after you think you've forgotten it. I think that it is a perfect parallel for The Giver. Rather than distribute normal life pains and anguish among a society, only one is chosen to suffer, allowing the remainder of society to experience utopia.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By DB on November 21, 2014
Format: Hardcover
If you think this story is about people who do nothing in the face of suffering then I really think you've missed the point. The author states explicitly that the price of the city's peace, prosperity and happiness is the misery of one child. No change is possible without destroying the lives of everyone else. Don't take my word for it:

"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."

This is a much more subtle and troubling point: is the misery of one person justified if it buys peace, health and welfare for many people? And if there was no other choice, could you continue with your prosperous life knowing how it was bought? This seems a far more morally ambiguous and difficult inquiry to make of the reader than what you suggest.
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