Open Posted By: surajrudrajnv33 Date: 17/12/2020 High School Report Writing

 In 2-3 pages  final reflection essay and for this week, you'll consider LeGuin, "The Ones Who Walk Away From Omelas" attached and ways it has prepared you to live a life of leadership and influence in the world.  We reflect to understand who we uniquely are (Composing A Life) and to grasp the critical questions of purpose and meaning, both individually and collectively (Searching For Truths).  The results of our reflection form the basis for our life's work,  This is the 'doing' of life, Working for Community and Justice.

As we reflect this week, consider:

from the fourth-century monk and mystic John Cassian:  "Nothing is ours except one thing, which is possessed by the heart, which clings to the soul, and which can never be taken away by anyone."

What is your one thing?

Knowing that, how will you use it for others in your one, precious life?

Critical Thinking Questions (to guide your reading and reflection) 

  1. In “The Ones Who Walk Away from Omelas,” the only people presented as taking any kind of social action are the ones who simply walk away.  Is there value in not participating in social injustice?  What other types of social action could result in solving the problem of the child’s suffering?
Category: Business & Management Subjects: Human Resource Management Deadline: 24 Hours Budget: $80 - $120 Pages: 2-3 Pages (Short Assignment)

Attachment 1

Tr7_ Ti-7· d-' ~~~ oe vv tn s ~~ Twelve Quarters~~ ~~~~~~~


Short Stories hy URSULA K. ~E GUIN ~~~



Harper & Row, Publishers, New York

Cambridge, Philadelphia, San Francisco, Washington

London, Mexico City, Sao Paulo, Singapore, Sydney

"Semleys Necklace" originally appeared under the title "The Dowry of the Angyar" in Amazing, 1964.

"April in Paris" originally appeared in Fantastic, 1962. "The Masters" and "Darkness Box" originally appeared in Fantastic, 1963. '.'The Word of Unbinding" and "The Rule of Names" originally appeared in Fantastic, 1964. "Winters King" originally appeared in Orbit 5, 1969. "The Good Trip" originally appeared in Fantastic, 1970. "Nine Lives" originally appeared in Playboy, 1969. "Things" originally appeared under the title "The End" in Orbit 6, 1970. "A Trip co the Head" originally appeared in Quark 1, 1970. "Vaster Than Empires and More Slow" originally appeared in New Dimensions 1, 1971. "The Stars Below" originally appeared in Orbit 12, 1973. "The Field of Vision" originally appeared in Galaxy, 1973. "Direction of the Road" originally appeared in Orbit 14, 1974. "The Ones Who Walk Away from Ornelas" originally appeared in New Dimensions 3, 1973. "The Day Before the Revolution" originally appeared in Galaxy, 1974. Excerpt from A. E. Housman's A Shropshire Lad reprinted by permission of Cambridge

University Press.

A hardcover edition of chis book was originally published in 197 5 by Harper & Row, Publishers.

THE WIND'S TWELVE QUARTERS. Copyright© 1975 by Ursula K. Le Guin. All rights reserved. Printed in the United States of America. No part of chis book may be used or reproduced in any manner whatsoever without written permission except in the case of brief quotations embodied in critical articles and reviews. For information address Harper & Row, Publisher~, Inc., 10 Ease 53rd Street, New York, N.Y. 10022. Published simultaneously in Canada by Fitzhenry & Whiteside Limited, Toronto.

First PERENNIAL LIBRARY edition published 1987.

Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data

LeGuin, Ursula K. The wind's twelve quarters.

"Perennial Library." Contents: Semley's necklace.-April in Paris.-The rnasters.-Darkness box.

[etc.] I. Title. PZ4. L518Wi [PS3562. E42] 813'. 5 '4 75-6372 ISBN 0-06-091434-3 (pbk.)

From far, from eve and morning

And yon twelve-winded sky, The stuff of life to knit me

Blew hither; here am I.

Now-for a breath I tarry Nor yet disperse apart-

Take my hand quick and tdl me, What have you in your heart.

Speak now, and I will answer;

How shall I help you, say;

Ere to the wind's twelve quarters I take my endless vray.

A. E. Housman: A SiJropshire Lad


The Co11ege of St. Catherine ST. l\1ARY'S CAMPUS LIBRARY 2500 South Sixth Street .Minneapolis, MN 55454


t l t

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~ ~ (Variations on a theme by William James)

The central idea of this psychomyth, the scapegoat, turns up in Dostoyevsky's Brothers Karamazov, and several people have asked

me, rather suspiciously, why I gave the c~edit to William James. The fact is, I haven't been able to re-read 'JJostoyevskJ, much as I

loved him, since I was twenty-five, and I'd simply forgotten he used

the idea. But when I met it in /amels "The Moral Philosopher and the Moral Life," it was with a shock of recognition. Here is how

James puts it:

Or if the hypothesis were offered us of a world in which Messrs. Fourier's and Bellamy's and Morris's utopias should all be outdone, and millions kept permanently happy on the one simple condition that a certain lost soul on the far-off edge of things should lead a life of lonely torment, what except a specifical and independent sort of emotion can it be which tvould make us immediately feel, even though an impulse arose within us to clutch at the happiness so offered, how hideous a thing would be its enjrlyment when deliberately accepted as the fruit of such a bargain?

The dilemma of the American conscience can hardly be better

stated. Dostoyevsky was a great artist, and a radical one, but his

early social radicalism reversed itself, leaving him a violent reaction-

ary. Whereas the American James, who seems so mild, so naively

gentlemanly-look hotv he says "us," assuming all his readers are

276 The Wind1s Twelve Quarters

as decent as himself I-was, and remained, and remains, a genuinely

radical thinker. Directly after the "lost soul" passage he goes on,

All the higher, more penetrating ideals are revolutionary. They present themselves far less in the guise of effects of past experience than in that of probable causes of future experience, factors to which the environment and the lessons it has so far taught us must learn to bend.

The application of those two sentences to this story, and to science

fictfon, and to all thinking about the future, is quite direct. Ideals

as "the probable causes of future experience11-that is a subtle and

an exhilarating remark!

Of course I didn 1t read /ames and sit down and say, Now I'll write a story about that "lost soul." It seldom works that simply. I sat down and started a story, just because I felt like it, with nothing

but tl2e word "Ornelas" in mind. It came from a road sign: Salem

(Oregon) backwards. Don1t you read road signs backwards? POTS.

WOLS nerdlihc. Ocsicnarf Nas ... Salem equals schelomo equals salaam equals Peace. Melas. 0 melas. Ornelas. Homme Mias. "Where do you get your ideas from, Ms Le Guin?" From forgetting Dostoyevsky and reading road signs backwards, naturally. Where


With a damor of bells that set the swallows soaring, the Festival of Summer came to the city Ornelas, 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 peo-

ple in long stiff robes of mauve and grey, grave master workmen,

The Ones Who Walk Away from Omelas 277

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. Children dodged in and out, their high calls rising like

the swallows' crossing flights over the music and the singing. All

the processions wound towards the north side of the city, where on the great water-meadow called the Green Fields boys and girls,

naked in the bright air, with mud-stained feet and ankles and long, lithe arms, exercised their restive horses before the race. 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 anot4,9'; they were vastly excited, the horse being the only animal who has adopted our ceremonies as his own. Far off to the north and west the mountains

stood up half encircling Ornelas on her bay. The air of morning was so clear that the snow still crowning the Eighteen Peaks

burned with white-gold .fire across the miles of sunlit air, under the dark blue of the sky. There was just enough wind to make the

banners that marked the racecourse snap and flutter now and then. In the silence of the broad green meadows one could hear the music winding through the city streets, farther and nearer and ever approaching, a cheerful faint sweetness of the air that from time to time trembled and gathered together and broke out into the

great joyous clanging of the bells. Joyous! How is one to tell about joy? How describe the citizens

of Ornelas? They were not simple folk, you see, though they were happy.

But we do not say the words of cheer much any more. All smiles have become archaic. Given a description such as this one tends

to make certain assumptions. Given a description such as this one

tends to look next for the King, mounted on a splendid stallion

and surrounded by his noble knights, or perhaps in a golden litter


278 The Wind's Ttvelve Quarte1·s

borne by great-muscled slaves. But there was no king. They did not use swords, or keep slaves. They were not barbarians. I do not know the rules and laws of their society, but I suspect that they

were singularly few. As they did without monarchy and slavery, so they also got on without the stock exchange, the advertisement,

the secret police, and the bomb. Yet I repeat that these were not simple folk, not dulcet shepherds, noble savages, bland utopians.

They were not less complex than us. The trouble is that we have a bad habit, encouraged by pedants and sophisticates, of consider- ing 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 every-

thing else. We have almost lost hold; we can no longer describe a happy man, nor make any celebration of joy. How can I tell you about the people of Ornelas? They were not naive and happy children-though their children were, in fact, happy. They were mature, intelligent, passionate adults whose lives were not wretched. 0 miracle! but I wish I could describe it better. I wish I could

convince you. Ornelas sounds in my words like a city in a fairy tale, long ago and far away, once upon a time. Perhaps it would

be best if you imagined it as your own fancy bids, assuming it will rise to the occasion, for certainly I cannot suit you all. For instance, how about technology? I think that there would be no cars or helicopters in and above the streets; this follows from the fact that

the people of Ornelas are happy people. Happiness is based on a just discrimination of what is necessary, what is neither necessary nor

destructive, and what is destructive. In the middle category, how-

ever-that of the unnecessary but undestructive, that of comfort,

luxury, exuberance, etc.-they could perfectly well have central heating, . subway trains, washing machines, and all kinds of marve-


The Ones Who Walk Away from Ornelas 279

lous devices not yet invented here, floating light-sources, fuelless power, a cure for the common cold. Or they could have none of

that: it doesn't matter. As you like it. I incline to think that people

from towns up and down the coast have been coming in to Ornelas

during the last days before the Festival on very fast little trains and

double-decked trams, and that the train station of Omel~s is actually the handsomest building in town, though plainer than the magnifi-

cent Farmers' Market. But even granted trains, I fear that Ornelas so far strikes some of you as goody-goody. Smiles, bells, parades, horses, bleh. If so, please add an orgy. If an orgy would help, don't hesitate. Let us not, however, have temples from which ,jssue beautiful nude

priests and priestesses already half in ecstasy and ready to copulate with any man or woman, lover or stranger, who desires union with

the deep godhead of the blood, although that was my first idea. But really it would be better not to have any temples in Ornelas-at least, not manned temples. Religion yes, clergy no. Surely the beautiful nudes can just wander about, offering themselves like divine souffies to the hunger of the needy and the rapture of the flesh. Let them join the processions. Let tambourines be struck above the copulations, and the glory of desire be proclaimed upon the gongs, and (a not

unimportant point) let the offspring of these delightful rituals be beloved and looked after by all. One thing I know there is none

of in Ornelas is guilt. But what else should there be? I thought at first there were no drugs, but that is puritanical. For those who like it, the faint insistent sweetness of drooz may perfume the ways of the city, drooz which first brings a great lightness and brilliance to the

mind and limbs, and then after some hours a dreamy languor, and

wonderful visions at last of the very arcana and inmost secrets of the

Universe, as well as exciting the pleasure of sex beyond all belief;

and it is not habit-forming. For more modest tastes I think there

ought to be beer. What else, what else belongs in the joyous city? The

sense of victory, surely, the celebration of courage. But as we did

280 The Wind's Tevelve Qua1·ters

without clergy, let us do without soldiers. The joy built upon success-

ful slaughter is not the right kind of joy; it will not do; it is fearful and it is trivial. A boundless and generous contentment, a mag-

nanimous triumph felt not against some outer enemy but in com- munion with the finest and fairest in the souls of all men everywhere

and the splendor of the world's summer: this is what swells the hearts of the people of Ornelas, and the victory they celebrate is that of life. I really don't think many of them need to take drooz.

Most of the processions have reached the Green Fields by now. A marvelous smell of cooking goes forth from the red and blue tents of the provisioners. The faces of small children are amiably sticky; in the benign grey beard of a man a couple of crumbs of rich pastry are entangled. The youths and girls have mounted their horses and are beginning to group around the starting line of the

course. An old woman, small, fat, and laughing, is passing out

flowers from a basket, and tall young men wear her flowers in their shining hair. A child of nine or ten sits at the edge of the crowd,

alone, playing on a wooden flute. People pause to listen, and they smile, but they do not speak to him, for he never ceases playing and never sees them, his dark eyes wholly rapt in the sweet, thin magic of the tune.

He finishes, and slowly lowers his hands holding the wooden flute.

As if that little private silence were the signal, all at once a trumpet sounds from the pavilion near the starting line: imperious, melan- choly, piercing. The horses rear on their slender legs, and some of

them neigh in answer. Sober-faced, the young riders stroke the

horses' necks and soothe them, whispering, "Quiet, quiet, there my

beauty, my hope .... " They begin to form in rank along the

starting line. The crowds along the racecourse are like a field of

grass and flowers in the wind. The Festival of Summer has begun. Do you believe? Do you accept the festival, the city, the joy? No?

Then let me describe one more thing.

The Ones Who Walk Away from Ornelas 281

In a basement under one of the beautiful public buildings of

Ornelas, or perhaps in the cellar of one of its spacious private homes, there is a room. It has one locked door, and no window. A little light

seeps in dustily between cracks in the boards, secondhand from a cobwebbed window somewhere across the cellar. In one corner of the little room a couple of mops, with stiff, clotted, foul-smelling heads, stand near a rusty bucket. The floor is dirt, a little damp to

the touch, as cellar dirt usually is. The room is about three paces long and two wide: a mere broom closet or disused tool room. 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.'1'Perhaps it was born

defective, or per~aps it has become imbecile through fear, malnutri- tion, 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. It finds them horrible. It shuts its eyes, but it knows the mops are still stand- ing there; and the door is locked; and nobody will come. The door

is always locked; and nobody ever comes, except that sometimes- the child has no understanding of time or interval-sometimes the door rattles terribly and opens, and a person, or several people, are

there. One of them may come in and kick the child to make it stand up. The others never come close, but peer in at it with

frightened, disgusted eyes. The food bowl and the water jug are

hastily filled, the door is locked, the eyes disappear. The people at the door never say anything, but the child, who has not always lived in the tool room, and can remember sunlight and its mother's voice,

sometimes speaks. "I will be good," it says. "Please let me out. I will

be good!" They never answer. The child used to scream for help at

night, and cry a good deal, but now it only makes a kind of whining,

"eh-haa, eh-haa," and it speaks less and less often. It is so thin there

are no calves to its legs; its belly protrudes; it lives on a half-bowl of corn meal and grease a day. It is naked. Its buttocks and thighs are

a mass of festered sores, as it sits in its own excrement continually.

282 The Wind's Ttvelve Quarters

They all know it is there, all the people of Ornelas. 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. This is usually explained to children when they are between eight

and twelve, whenever they seem capable of understanding; and

most of those who come to see the child are young people, though

often enough an adult comes, or comes back, to see the child. No

matter how well the matter has been explained to them, these young

spectators are always shocked and sickened at the sight. They feel disgust, which they had thought themselves superior to. They feel anger, outrage, impotence, despite all the explanations. They would like to do something for the child. But there is nothing they can do. If the child were brought up into the sunlight out of that vile place, if it were cleaned and fed and comforted, that would be a good thing, indeed; but if it were done, in that day and hour all the prosperity and beauty and delight of Ornelas would wither and be destroyed. Those are the terms. To exchange all the goodness and grace of every life in Ornelas for that single, small improvement: to

throw away the happiness of thousands for the chance of the happi- ness of one: that would be to let guilt within the walls indeed.

The terms are strict and absolute; there may· not even be a kind

word spoken to the child. Often the young people go home in tears, or in a tearless rage,

when they have seen the child and faced this terrible paradox. They may brood over it for weeks or years. But as time goes on they begin

to realize that even if the child could be released, it would not get

The Ones Who Walk Away from Ornelas 283

much good of its freedom: a little vague pleasure of warmth and food, no doubt, but little more. It is too degraded and imbecile to know any real joy. It has been afraid too long ever to be free of fear. Its habits are too uncouth for it to respond to humane treatment. Indeed, after so long it would probably be wretched without walls about it to protect it, and darkness for its eyes, and its own excre- ment to sit in. Their tears at the bitter injustice dry when they begin

to perceive the terrible justice of reality, and to accept it. Yet it is their tears and anger, the trying of their generosity and the acceptance

of their helplessness, which are perhaps the true source of the •. <If

splendor of their lives. Theirs is no vapid, irresponsible happiness.

They know that they, like the child, are not free. They know com- passion. It is the existence of the child, and their knowledge of its

existence, that makes possible the nobility of their architecture, the poignancy of their music, the profundity of their science. It is because

of the child that they are so gentle with children. They know that

if the wretched one were not there snivelling in the dark, the other one, the flute-player, could make no joyful music as the young riders line up in their beauty for the race in the sunlight of the first morning of summer.

Now do you believe in them? Are they not more credible? But there is one more thing to tell, and this is quite incredible.

At times one of the adolescent girls or boys who go to see the child does not go home to weep or rage, does not, in fact, go home at all. Sometimes also a man or woman much older falls silent for a day

or two, and then leaves home. These people go out into the street, and walk down the street alone. They keep walking, and walk straight out of the city of Ornelas, through the beautiful gates. They

keep walking across the farmlands of Ornelas. Each one goes alone,

youth or girl, man or woman. 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

284 The Wind's Twelve Quarters

or north, towards the mountains. They go on. They leave Ornelas, 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 Ornelas.


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