The Man Who Can’t Leave: Another Presentation of Omelas

  One of my favorite things about fiction is the dialogue between the stories. I’m not referring to one story’s response to another, from the most intense academic research down to silly fanfiction and all kinds of memes, which of course I like too. I’m referring to the conversations that take place in our brains as we experience one story and think about another, rethink our previous experiences, and discover explanations and possibilities that we hadn’t thought of before.
  Best of all, these conversations happen at unexpected moments. When two stories that did not necessarily have any connection appeared in the dim tavern of the mind, they carefully looked at each other across the dimly lit room, suddenly recognized each other, and raised their eyebrows together, “Ha, I didn’t expect you to come here too. Pastime.”
  Read Ursula K. Le Guin’s short story “The Man Who Left Omelas.” Since its publication in 1973, the story has become part of the literary ecosystem, especially in (but definitely not limited to) the realm of science fiction and fantasy. This is a strange short philosophical short, less than 3,000 English words. It raises a tough moral and ethical question without giving any easy answer. Students majoring in literature and philosophy have been arguing about it for decades, and many works of art are directly related to it, from the positive response of NK Jemisin’s “Those Who Stayed to Fight”, to the BTS “Spring Day” MV. Indirect interpretation.
  Just a quick refresher: This story describes a summer celebration in Omelas. Omelas is a beautiful city full of joy, free from the burden of pain and sorrow. But somewhere in town, in a damp cellar, there’s a windowless utility room, where a malnourished child is locked up in darkness, never to be released and treated well. The existence of this child is not a secret. Every teen in the city will see this kid and be told about the terrible deals behind society. “…their happiness, the beauty of the city, the tenderness of their friendship, the health of their children, the wisdom of scholars, the skill of artisans, and even the abundance of their harvests and the pleasant weather in the sky depend entirely on the child’s unbearable suffering.”
  It wasn’t until the last paragraph that we met the people in the title, a group of people who chose to leave the city altogether rather than live in such a system. The novel rejects any possibility of altering the system—a hardened binary opposition that is intentional, and the reader is dismayed because, despite the narrator’s assurances that it has to, the resulting problems cannot. be covered up. Does anyone really have to suffer for the functioning of society? Who made this decision? Why can’t the rules be changed? To what extent are those who remain accomplices? What’s the use of leaving? Why can’t we fight? What would happen if we let the kids in the utility room use swords as their hands?
  Yes, that’s about it.
  Let’s change the subject and talk about a work that, as far as I know, has absolutely nothing to do with Le Guin’s story.
  The 2019 cartoon “Dororo” is based on the manga of the same name first published by legendary manga artist Osamu Tezuka from 1967 to 1968. Set in an imagined monster-filled Sengoku period, the story tells the story of a young orphan thief named Dororo who befriends the mysterious ronin Hakugimaru. When they first met, Hyakkimaru was completely hidden behind masks, cloaks, prostheses with swords hidden in them, and bandages. All this to hide the fact that he has no eyes, no ears, no mouth, no organs, and only one leg, but he is still a top-notch warrior with superhuman strength and speed. (It’s magic, of course, ha.) He doesn’t even have any skin, and it didn’t grow until (episode 1) he killed a troublemaker. Dororo is very smart, but in this cruel and ruthless world for orphans, she has very few choices to survive. As soon as she sees this terrifying young warrior who uses swords as hands, she thinks: “I like him , he’ll be my best friend.”
  Yes, that’s cute, and the source of the whole irresistible story that follows. The cartoon is beautiful, the characters are complex and captivating, the story is just the right amount of cruelty, sadness, fun, and heartache, and it’s so colorful that I’m still thinking about it months after I first watched it. different levels.
  One level of thinking is how Dororo can solve the same thorny moral conundrum that Le Guin posed in The Man Who Left Omelas: who should suffer for society’s success, and how much this suffering affects individuals and groups alike What are the implications and what happens when someone decides to break this social contract and stop obeying.
  We knew about Hyakkimaru from the beginning: he was the eldest son of a warlord named Daigo, who offered sacrifices to demons in exchange for power and prosperity. The problem is that Daigo seems to have forgotten to say what he is willing to sacrifice, so the demon took his newborn son’s hands, feet, face, senses and organs, but left him alive. When Daigo saw his young son, not only was he not frightened by the price he traded with the devil, but he just said, “Oh, that’s disgusting, throw him away, we will have a better son next time.”
  So, The baby was floated away in the river. A man named Shouhai rescued him, fitted him with prosthetics, taught him to fight and survive, nurtured him, and loved him. They discovered that if Hyakkimaru killed the demon who took his body parts, he could get the corresponding body parts back. Therefore, Hyakkimaru embarked on a journey of slaying demons and demons to regain what was taken from him.
  What Hyakkimaru didn’t know was why the demons took his body parts and what would happen after he killed those demons. He didn’t know why his life was like this, and who was responsible for it. Through a series of tragedies and the saddest family reunion in the world, Hyakkimaru learns—as we learn with him—that killing the demons would break their deal with Daigo. This means that the protection brought by the transaction disappears with it. For the past sixteen years or so, most of the surrounding wars and disasters have not spread to Daigo’s territory, but once Hyakkimaru starts slaughtering demons, the situation will change. A period of relative peace and prosperity was suddenly and violently interrupted as landslides and drought plagued the village, and neighboring warlords rallied their armies to attack.
  So everyone in the cartoon faces the same question that everyone in Omelas faces: what do you do when you find that peace and prosperity are built on intense pain?
  Daigo himself answered this question many years ago, and he thought he was willing to sacrifice his young son; Baiguimaru’s mother obeyed the arrangement, and although she was not happy, she did not resist. Hyakkimaru’s younger brother was born to take over the child who was completely thrown away by Daigo as garbage. When he learned what his father had done, he was indeed horrified, but in the end he believed that in order to protect his subjects, this kind of transaction must be maintained.
  However, not everyone will come to this conclusion. It’s also worth noting that life under the protection of demons is far from perfect. The so-called protection of a place by the devil often means reducing the number of victims, but this number is not zero. Not everyone benefited from the Daigo deal, as it affected only one region during a period that can only be described as a continual war. When seeing the devastation caused by defeating demons, Dororo is indeed asking if they’re doing the right thing – because Dororo is a war orphan with an intimate understanding of pain, and because the quest to slay demons clearly Had a terrible impact on Hyakkimaru himself. Similarly, Shouhai questioned Baiguimaru’s behavior not because he felt the deal should be maintained, but because he was worried that the boy he cared for as a son was letting violence and anger erode him from the bottom of his heart.