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20+ quotes from The Ones Who Walk Away from Omelas by Ursula K. Le Guin

Quotes from The Ones Who Walk Away from Omelas

Ursula K. Le Guin ·  32 pages

Rating: (9.4K votes)


“The trouble is that we have a bad habit, encouraged by pedants and sophisticates, of considering happiness as something rather stupid. Only pain is intellectual, only evil interesting. This is the treason of the artist; a refusal to admit the banality of evil and the terrible boredom of pain.”
― Ursula K. Le Guin, quote from The Ones Who Walk Away from Omelas


“Happiness is based on a just discrimination of what is necessary, what is neither necessary nor destructive, and what is destructive”
― Ursula K. Le Guin, quote from The Ones Who Walk Away from Omelas


“This is the treason of the artist: a refusal to admit the banality of evil and the terrible boredom of pain.”
― Ursula K. Le Guin, quote from The Ones Who Walk Away from Omelas


“Night falls; the traveler must pass down 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.”
― Ursula K. Le Guin, quote from The Ones Who Walk Away from Omelas


“To exchange all the goodness and grace of every life in Omelas for that single, small improvement: to throw away the happiness of thousands for the chance of the happiness of one: that would be to let guilt within the walls indeed.”
― Ursula K. Le Guin, quote from The Ones Who Walk Away from Omelas


“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.”
― Ursula K. Le Guin, quote from The Ones Who Walk Away from Omelas


“The trouble is that we have a bad habit, encouraged by pedants and sophisticates, of considering happiness as something rather stupid. Only pain is intellectual,
only evil interesting. This is the treason of the artist: a refusal to admit the banality of evil and the terrible boredom of pain. If you can't lick 'em, join 'em. If it hurts, repeat it. But to praise despair is to condemn delight, to embrace violence is to lose hold of everything else.”
― Ursula K. Le Guin, quote from The Ones Who Walk Away from Omelas


“Smiles, bells, parades, horses, bleh. If so, please add an orgy. If an orgy would help, don't hesitate.”
― Ursula K. Le Guin, quote from The Ones Who Walk Away from Omelas


“Only pain is intellectual, only evil interesting.”
― Ursula K. Le Guin, quote from The Ones Who Walk Away from Omelas


“The horses wore no gear at all but a halter without bit. Their manes were braided with streamers of silver, gold, and green. They flared their nostrils and pranced and boasted to one another; they were vastly excited, the horse being the only animal who has adopted our ceremonies as his own.”
― Ursula K. Le Guin, quote from The Ones Who Walk Away from Omelas


“They all know it is there, all the people of Omelas. Some of them have come to see it, others are content merely to know it is there. They all know that it has to be there. Some of them understand why, and some do not, but they all understand that their happiness, the beauty of their city, the tenderness of their friendships, the health of their children, the wisdom of their scholars, the skill of their makers, even the abundance of their harvest and the kindly weathers of their skies, depend wholly on this child's abominable misery.”
― Ursula K. Le Guin, quote from The Ones Who Walk Away from Omelas


“With a clamor of bells that set the swallows soaring, the Festival of Summer came to the city. Omelas, bright-towered by the sea. The rigging of the boats in harbor sparkled with flags. In the streets between houses with red roofs and painted walls, between old moss-grown gardens and under avenues of trees, past great parks and public buildings, processions moved. Some were decorous: old people in long stiff robes of mauve and grey, grave master workmen, quiet, merry women carrying their babies and chatting as they walked. In other streets the music beat faster, a shimmering of gong and tambourine, and the people went dancing, the procession was a dance.”
― Ursula K. Le Guin, quote from The Ones Who Walk Away from Omelas


“The trouble is that we have a bad habit, encouraged by pedants and sophisticates, of considering happiness as something rather stupid. Only pain is intellectual, only evil interesting. This is the treason of the artist: a refusal to admit the banality of evil and the terrible boredom of pain.”
― Ursula K. Le Guin, quote from The Ones Who Walk Away from Omelas


“​
Only pain is intellectual, only evil interesting. This is the treason of the artist: the refusal to admit the banality of evil and the terrible boredom of pain. If you can lick them, join them. If it hurts, repeat it. But to praise despair is to condemn delight, to embrace violence is to loose hold of everything else.”
― Ursula K. Le Guin, quote from The Ones Who Walk Away from Omelas


“But as we did without clergy, let us do without soldiers.”
― Ursula K. Le Guin, quote from The Ones Who Walk Away from Omelas


“Let us do without soldiers. The joy built upon successful slaughter is not the right kind of joy; it will not do; it is fearful and it is trivial.”
― Ursula K. Le Guin, quote from The Ones Who Walk Away from Omelas


“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.”
― Ursula K. Le Guin, quote from The Ones Who Walk Away from Omelas


“Where do you get your ideas from, Ms Le Guin?” From forgetting Dostoyevsky and reading road signs backwards, naturally. Where else?”
― Ursula K. Le Guin, quote from The Ones Who Walk Away from Omelas


“talking about the “meaning” of a story, we need to be careful not to diminish it, impoverish it. A story can say different things to different people. It may have no definitive reading. And a reader may find a meaning in it that the writer never intended, never imagined, yet recognizes at once as valid.”
― Ursula K. Le Guin, quote from The Ones Who Walk Away from Omelas


“Omelas already exists: no need to build it or choose it. We already live here –in the narrow, foul, dark prison we let our ignorance, fear, and hatred build for us and keep us in, here in the splendid, beautiful city of life. . . . --UKL, 2016”
― Ursula K. Le Guin, quote from The Ones Who Walk Away from Omelas


About the author

Ursula K. Le Guin
Born place: in Berkeley, California, The United States
Born date October 21, 1929
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