Tag Archives: ones who walk away from omelas

Reclaiming Omelas

By Robert C. Koehler

Bob’s taking Thanksgiving week off. This column originally ran four years ago, and is one of my favorites. ~Ed.

Originally published Sept. 20, 2006

“In one corner of the little room a couple of mops, with stiff, clotted, foul-smelling heads stand near a rusty bucket. . . . In the room a child is sitting. It could be a boy or a girl. It looks about six, but actually is nearly ten. It is feeble-minded. Perhaps it was born defective, or perhaps it has become imbecile through fear, malnutrition, and neglect. It picks its nose and occasionally fumbles vaguely with its toes or genitals, as it sits hunched in the corner farthest from the bucket and the two mops. It is afraid of the mops.”

– Ursula K. Le Guin, “The Ones Who Walk Away From Omelas”

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