The Ones Who Walk Away From Omelas Review!! | Best Short Story Ever?!

Hi friends!

boy, do I have a story for y’all.

So the other day, I was looking up BTS’s top songs* and stumbled upon Spring Day. I’d already heard the song once (and cried) but hadn’t seen the music video yet. And of course the website I was on was highly praising the MV and saying it drew references from Ursula K. Le Guin’s short story The Ones Who Walk Away From Omelas. And so what do I do???

Ignore the obsessive impulse to read it and continue with my day.

Sat down and read it right then and there. Unsurprisingly. So helloooo review! Also, this is a short story, so I’ll be referencing all the story points so I’m not really spoiling (it’s only like 5 pages) but if you like going in completely blind please don’t read the rest and come back later!! The PDF is actually available for free online!

*for those of you who don’t know, they’re an amazing boy band and I just became a fan (hence them being in like every post of mine cough cough)

what the flip.

First of all, the prose? It was unexpectedly poetic, gorgeous in a way that shocked me. Like who gave you the right to write so well certainly not me.

Second of all, I knew the story going into this* but I wasn’t expecting it to be told so…cleanly. It’s obvious the author is a master at storytelling, and she paints the picture of this perfect city. Yet, it’s almost too perfect. While being swept away by the lush descriptions, I couldn’t help but feel the shadow of something lurking beneath this perfect facade.

*the lowdown of the entire 5 pages of this story: beautiful prosperous happy town is only beautiful prosperous happy town because one child is living in absolute misery.

And at the end, it shows. Hidden in a basement is a child, a child who doesn’t know the time or their age or how to enjoy anything. A child trapped in a small room, forced to sit in its own excrement, all the while begging to be let out and promising to be good, not understand that the only reason the town is happy is because its locked in there. In fact, the deal the townspeople made apparently doesn’t even allow a single kind word.

The way the author wove this tale was incredible. SO MUCH SYMBOLISM. Everything from injustice to selfishness to accepting moral wrongs simply because the rest of society does it was all represented wonderfully in just a few short pages. Even how people will look the child (evidence of injustice) in the face and just turn around and walk away.

and yet.

Some keep walking. They walk and they walk and they walk. They walk right through those golden gates, refusing to live for a moment longer in a world that thrived on the misery of others. Even if it were “only” a single child.

So that’s it! I’m sorry if this came off as super weird haha. This might actually be my favorite short story ever, for the powerful themes and beautiful writing! I’d really love to read more of this author’s work so if anyone has any recs please drop them below!!

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