Responses

The four responses must be at least 150 words each and employ the “They Say / I Say” structure (not necessarily words) for responses.
They Say/I Say: They Say, I Say sets up a template to illustrate “moves” (key transitional phrases and terms) to help you summarize someone else’s claims, respond to their claims, and, ultimately, use their claims to set up your own argument.

Respond to these 4 responses using the “They Say/I Say” structure:
1:
In Ursula K. Le Guin’s short story “The Ones Who Walk Away from Omelas”, I picked up on three symbols: the child and the closet, the Festival of Summer, and the darkness outside of Omelas. The child in the basement embodies all suffering within the not-so-perfect utopia. The placement of this child is really important. It is in a broom closet. A broom closet is where the items that do the dirty work are stored. In the story, Le Guin tells readers that these mops are “stiff, clotted, foul smelling”. A mop cannot properly clean if it is dirty, and so a society cannot peacefully function if it is corrupted. The cobwebs and useless cleaning items reflect a system that is inefficient, but what is this system the author is referring to? This closet is said to be located in “public buildings of Omelas” or in a “spacious private home”. These two places are spaces of wealth. The public building is where government duties take place. The suffering child in the closet of a government building made me think of the ways labor is outsourced to different countries that lack laws and regulations preventing child labor. Specifically, I thought of sweatshop labor. The mentioning of Western ideals brought to mind values of consumerism and materialism. The child in the closet can symbolize those suffering from the production of the goods. Because Le Guin mentioned the child and the closet can be located in a personal home, this calls into question what values are held within private spaces where we, the readers, dwell. It begs us to question the reasoning behind what we value. The Festival of Summer is also a really important symbol. Summertime is associated with fruit and growth—when things are alive and thriving. It is a season when labor is rewarded with fruit. This made me think that the people of Omelas place their highest values on profit and are willing to maintain the suffering of the child so the Festival of Summer and all of its fruits can proceed. As for the Darkness, I think the darkness symbolizes all of the other options and possibilities Omelas has not considered. I think these “possibilities” consist of a different political structure. I was left wondering if the people of Omelas willfully refuse to change their ways, or if they simply cannot imagine that a different system can exist. I think this can be taken a step further and read that the people who leave Omelas are searching for a political system outside of capitalism. This darkness is not a bad place within the story, and I think it is suggested that those who leave Omelas for the darkness are trying to bring light of their own into it.

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2:
Symbolism is a method of using symbols to express a meaning for something else and/ or using anything to symbolize an important relationship, object, or belief. The symbolism in “The One’s Who Walk Away From Omelas”, even though it is not mentioned until the end, is the child in the broom closet. In Omelas, the town is “joyful” in their own way. Joy to them is sadness to us. They seem to enjoy the feeling of evil or dullness. When mentioned the light and grey colors they wear and all the smiles becoming ‘archaic’ points out to me that the town these people live in is not too upbeat and happy all the time. But the child in this story is the part that really catches everyone’s attention. The child is ‘malnourished’ and ‘neglected’ because it is nothing but a thing to the people of Omelas. But this child is a symbol of all the children that labor over the things we “need” so bad all the time. The things we buy is stores overpriced that these children are making little to no profit from the product. This is just a over view of the actual world we live in and I believe this story sort of opens our eyes a little to how some children are forced to live when we do not even realize it. The symbolism in “The One’s Who Stay and Fight” does not really have a specific thing or item, as you could say, that means something specific, but in the story the author says repeatedly, “The Day of Good Birds.” To me the constant saying is something that is proving the peacefulness of the city of Um-Helat. I think when most people think of birds or even butterflies that were mentioned, and colorful objects, they think of peace and joy. In the city, “this is a land where no one hungers, no one is left ill, no one lives in fear, and even war is almost forgotten,” (Jemisin). I also believe that in the story all the joy or happiness that is spread is a symbol to our word and trying to show us something we do not really have. We can say day after day that we live in a good world, but I think it is safe to say we really do not. Like the author says, “Racism is natural, so natural that we will call it “tribalism” to insinuate that everyone does it. Sexism is natural and homophobia is natural and religious intolerance is natural and greed is natural, and cruelty is natural and savagery and fear…”, all things in are world are natural even though they are not always good things and no world is perfect. But the symbolism is we COULD be living In a peaceful and joy filled world but choice to fight and argue over things that we should could just choice to mind our business about, I am just thinking out loud and saying that this is the symbolism I see in the story.

3:

The point of view is one of the most vital and important parts of a story. Point of view is basically how the writer tries to portray the story based on perspective and use of characters. Knowing and understanding the perspective a story is being told in can add depth to a story depending on what point of view it’s being told in. There are many points of view as far as storytelling goes, such as first, second, and third person. Third person includes limited and omniscient. Third person limited is told from someone who is not aware of the story, while omniscient is told from the perspective of someone that knows the whole story. All five kinds of points of view are extremely important to telling a story a certain way. For example, in the book We have Always Lived in a Castle, if Merricat wasn’t the narrator, the story would be completely different. Her first person narration gives the reader a close view of the story.

Overall, the use of point of view in a story can complete make or break it. One of the best examples of using point of view and perception in a story is in Shirley Jackson’s We have Always Lived in a Castle, where the narrator knows everything and tricks the audience into thinking she’s good. Merricat is in first person, however, she is an unreliable narrator, as she is very misleading and delusional throughout the story. No reader sees it coming since it’s told from someone else’s skewed perspective. This is a perfect example of using perspective and point of view to make a good story great. Shirley Jackson uses the main character, and makes it seem as if she is innocent and childish early on, but you soon find out how she really is. Let’s say the story had been in third person with an omniscient perspective. The reader would have been able to see from the beginning what Merricat’s motivations were from an outside perspective, causing the story to lose its suspense. If the perspective had been anything but Merricats first person account, we may not have gotten a clear depiction of Merricat’s thought process or felt the suspense and mood that Jackson aimed to create.

Another great use of point of view is in the short film, “Pumzi”. Instead of misleading the audience through perception, Wanuri Kahiu shows Asha, a character who is showing the story from 1st person limited, not really knowing what the outside world is like, and finally revealing it to herself and the audience in this dystopian science fiction short film. Overall point of view is a very underlooked part of storytelling. Point of view makes a story distinct. It allows the writer to control the information that readers are given about the characters and the world they live in. Through this the writers can truly transport the readers into their stories.

4:

What is symbolism? Symbolism is the use of a character, setting, or thing to represent something else beyond the literal meaning that it has been given. Symbolism is used in both short stories, “The Ones Who Walk Away From Omelas” and “The Ones Who Stay and Fight”. Both deal with a sacrifice being made for the better good of the rest of the city.

In the short story, “The Ones Who Walk Away From Omelas”, the townspeople turn a blind eye to what is going on around them for the sake of their own happiness. They are willing to let an innocent child suffer a horrendous life, so that everyone else can be happy. This brings up the question… Is it morally okay to let one person suffer, so that the majority of people can be happy? This is a tough question. Do you let that person suffer for the greater good even though they did absolutely nothing wrong? Morally, I do not think it is right to sacrifice an innocent person just so everyone else can live a perfect life. The people who walk away from Omelas, clearly agree and cannot bear to watch the torture of this innocent child. These people represent the small minority that chose to do the right thing, even though they may be going against what majority of the people do.

The short story, “The Ones Who Stay and Fight” reminded me a lot of “The Ones Who Walk Away From Omelas”. However, in “The Ones Who Stay and Fight”, the people that are being sacrificed are not seen as innocent. They have broken the law and are being killed, so they do not poison the rest of the city with the evil they have learned from “our world”. It is not that they partake in this evil, but just that they know about it; unlike the others who are oblivious to the world of hatred that we live in. These social workers think that if they can keep this evil hidden, then Um-Helat will stay joyous. This story raises questions. Is it morally okay to kill a person for the greater good of the community? Is it morally okay to isolate a child and force them into a new life for the greater good of the community?

Both stories deal with moral issues as well as, sacrificing a person in return for a better and joyous community. I think the authors were attempting to get us to ask ourselves the question: What are we sacrificing in our lives/world for the greater good of the community?

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