In “The Ones Who Walk Away from Omelas” by Ursula K. Le Guin it is not the society of Omelas that is meant to represent a Utopia but instead it is where the ones who walk away go to that is described as a Utopia according to the Greek origin of the word. When people think of a Utopia most jump to the vision of a Utopia created by Thomas More, a vision of a nearly perfect society. In this story Le Guin goes into great detail describing Omelas as just that, a nearly perfect society. The Greek origins of Utopia are “ou” meaning not and “topos” meaning place. In the final paragraph Le Guin describes where those who leave the Utopia go to as a place that does not exist, if where they are going does not exist it can be inferred that a perfect place does not actually exist.
“Night falls; the traveler must pass down the 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. (p. 273-274)”
When Le Guin describes the place they go to she says “out into the darkness” and “ahead into darkness”. Twice she uses the word darkness to describe where the people go when they leave. The word darkness refers to the absence of light. If even light is absent then there is nothing there where the people are going. The nothing that the darkness represents goes back the Greek prefix “ou” meaning not. Le Guin then describes where they go as “even less imaginable to most of us then the city of happiness.” she spends the majority of the story trying to convince the reader that a place as inconceivable as Omelas actually exists. If something is “even less imaginable” then something unimaginable it is something that does not exist, once again confirming that where the people go when they walk away is not a place. Le Guin than backs that statement up further by saying “I cannot describe it at all. It is possible that it does not exist.” A place that cannot be described and possibly does not exist is not a place but according to the Greek meaning it is a Utopia. By referring to Omelas as one meaning of the word Utopia and then describing where to people go when they leave Omelas as another meaning for Utopia she is drawing a connection between those two places. This connection between the perfect society and a non-existent place is meant to imply that no place is perfect.