LeGuinn’s haunting tale of a society where being guiltless is the norm is shown in the Utopia of Omelas. The modern society is considered to be full of people who see something wrong and are guilted by their conscience to do something about the issue. Omelas allows the reader to imagine a place where “everyone” is happy because they have forgotten about what it’s like to feel guilty. There were very few set laws and there was no higher governing entity or set religion. The author wants you to believe that they have the happiness that modern society does not have because there is no evil, or is there?
“ One thing I know there is none of is guilt”
In my opinion the author is trying to give a vision of what society will be if it continues to follow the mindset that happiness is vital regardless of the consequences caused to others. Omelas is a society where being guilt-less has become the norm and “those who walk away” from this are the outsiders. The utopia seems the ultimate environment as long as the people are willing to ignore what causes them guilt. A vivid scene of sexual frivolity is stated before the previously mentioned quote in a way that is completely opposite from what would happen in the current society.
“Let tambourines be struck above the copulations and the glory of desire be proclaimed upon the gongs and ( a not unimportant point) let the offspring of these delightful rituals be beloved and looked after by all”
Considering Omelas is supposed to be a Utopia that is so distant and strange from our current situation, this can be compared to the current society. Sex is often glorified in current society but there is also guilt about the sexuality of a woman. Here the nude body of a woman is celebrated and they offer themselves like “devine souffles.” This would now be considered taboo and dangerous but the author utilizes the ability to morph the reality of what is now normal in this new age utopia of Omelas.
“To throw away the happiness of thousands for the chance of the happiness of one; that would be let guilt within the walls indeed.”
In modern times this can be compared to the use of capitalism in the United States. Those who are rich take from the poor no matter the consequence because there is so much emphasis on the power of money. LeGuinn takes this example to the extreme by using a child to represent the poor in the country. In order to show that this is an issue that has the chance to be fixed in the future if there is immediate change. The city was willing to ignore the livelihood of a child in order to ensure their own happiness. Hopefully, the author was exaggerating how bad the lust for money can become for those living in the same society, but maybe what we see now is only the beginning.