The Ones Who Walk Away from Omelas

In the short story “The Ones Who Walk Away from Omelas” by Ursula K. Le Guin, she writes about a locked, dark cellar in which a child sits and with this she shows us how mankind can be so cruel to certain people to satisfy the happiness of the community. This quote symbolizes the heartlessness of mankind. “They all understand that their happiness…. depend wholly on this child’s abominable misery” (235). This shows how mankind only thinks about themselves and their happiness even if it costs the happiness of others. They make this child take the pain of the whole town so they don’t have to suffer.

The author portrays to us this child from Omelas who represents the underclass people from our society. She compares the common man from society to these happy people from Omelas, implying that they are selfish wanting the best for themselves and don’t leave anything for the people in need. She mentions there are people from Omelas who feel bad for the child. “They would like to do something for the child. But there is nothing they can do” (235). There are many who know about the homeless and how much they suffer with no food, shelter or clothing. This makes many people give money to charity to try to help these homeless people, but they all know they won’t be able to end poverty; just like the people who decide to leave Omelas.

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Setting of “A Pair of Tickets”

In the short story “A Pair of Tickets” by Amy Tan, Jing-mei is a woman who does not feel Chinese, because she has lived in America her whole life. According to her mother she would come to feel it when she least expects it.  “Once you are born Chinese, you cannot help but feel Chinese. (Tan 120)” Most of the setting of this short story is in China where Jing-mei travels with her father. This is when she feels like she does not fit in with her surrounding and the people around her.  “Even without make up, I could never pass for a true Chinese. I stand five-foot-six, and my head pokes above the crowd so that I am at eyelevel only with other tourist. (Tan 124)” Since she has grown up in an American environment with different customs and views it was hard to feel like she was truly Chinese. Even though she lived with her parents, living in America made her think differently than them. She had made up her mind that Chinese culture was not part of her and it was different and different meant bad to her. “The hotel had provided little packets of shampoo which, upon opening, I discover is the consistency and color of hoisin sauce. This is more like it. I think. This is China. (Tan128)” To this point having seen her family and the nice hotel she was staying in, it made her start feeling a little closer to her culture. However, when she noticed the shampoo was out of the ordinary and felt like a sauce Chinese put on meat, it made her go back to the view on how she doesn’t fit in, and felt comfortable with that idea. Although Jing-mei does end up feeling Chinese at the end of the story, she still felt out of place in her setting for most the most part.