A Theme Of Being A Bystander In The Ones Who Walk Away Written By Le Guinn
One of the themes I learn in my humanities class was that being a bystander or remaining natural in a situation is not necessarily a good thing at all scenarios. I say this because being a bystander is really like having a person sit back and watch as something bad happens. This is illustrated in the story that the class had to read this week in the humanities course.
In the story, The Ones Who Walk Away from Omelas written by Le Guinn is a story set up in the far future in a Utopian (or Dystopian depending on how you look at it) society. Despite its setting, it is a simple ethical tale. We ask our self the questions society? Is it okay to kill one innocent person through death penalty to be certain that we kill more of the guilty ones? Or is it better to let one guilty go free to make sure we don’t put any innocent to death? Different people have a question just as some of the people In this story understand what enjoyment and freedom are based on and accept it while others walk away, preferring disappointment and pain to the idea of contributing to someone else suffering.
Obviously, the story doesn’t deal with all the philosophical complexities and the possible symbolic meanings but it is definitely a story of responsibility and humanity like how to do you gauge the value of one versus many? Is it right to accept suffering? Is the other right to walk away? Are the many rights to accept the sacrifice or the other choice of those who walk away?
My take on the story The Ones Who Walk Away written by Le Guinn is that people in the city who couldn’t deal with the fact of torturing a child for happiness should not have walked away from the city instead they should have taken a stand and actually do something about the problem. Imagine you saw someone who was getting robbed across the street there are two things you could do in that situation. The first being you could join them and grab quick cash or alternatively, you could do the complete opposite and walk away from the situation and turn a blind eye to the person that is getting robbed. While yes the second option might seem a little better than getting quick cash by robbing the person however in both scenarios you are not helping the problem and some could even argue that in both could be called heinous acts on humanity. The funny thing is this is exactly what happens in the story The Ones Who Walk Away written by Le Guinn.
This is lesson very important to me due to the fact while committed a heinous act like fighting or stealing is terrible and no one should ever commit such horrible crimes it’s also important to know being bystanders in some cases could be absolutely terrible and more people should know that it is. A great quote about being a bystander comes from Martin Luter King himself when he said ‘In the end, we will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends’. What this quote basically means is that in the end of the day the thing you may remember the most and that may hurt you the most the fact that your friends didn’t stand by you, they didn’t speak up for you, or didn’t support you in your darkest hour. So the words of your enemy or people you don’t really care for will not hurt you as much as the lack of action of your friends which are the people you care about the most.
Although the child in the story The Ones Who Walk Away written by Le Guinn probably didn’t have a friend he/she did have people who felt guilty or terrible from where they get their source from their happiness. So instead of having a voice and taking a stand against this inhumane act the people in the book who felt guilt just walk away as the problem still continues.
So while some may disagree with what I’ve said about bystanders just remember that everybody has needed a helping hand from time to time in their lives and without help people/society as a whole could not develop. Just imagine Thanksgiving if the Native Americans had left the Pilgrims from the Mayflower to die we would have a totally different holiday and history. In short being, a bystander is not doing good as the problem at hand could have prevented/stopped if the bystander would have stepped in and taken action and sometimes it can be tough to speak up and take but imagine how it might be like for the victim who has no choice in the matter. This lesson in humanities is important to me as people could help save lives by taken action instead of being a bystander.
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One of the themes I learn in my humanities class was that being a bystander or remaining natural in a situation is not necessarily a good thing at all scenarios. […]