ENGL 1301 ESSAY– The Reality of “Omelas”

I’m working on a English exercise and need support.

In the story by Ursula LeGuin we’ve read, the narrator describes an imaginary city, Omelas, which is a Utopia. The existence of this Utopia rests on one condition – the child who is kept, alone and miserable, in the cellar. All residents of the city are aware of the child, and of the condition. The only options are to accept the situation and live with it, or to walk away into an unknown future. The story asks: do you believe it is acceptable to sacrifice the one child in the basement for the perfect happiness of the entire rest of the city?

Here is the prompt for this essay:

Do you believe it is acceptable to sacrifice some for the benefit of many more? Why or why not?

What the essay must include:

  • A brief, basic explanation of the facts – What the story is about and what the problem is;
  • An introductory paragraph that introduces the main issue in the essay but does not mention the story “Omelas.”
  • Discussion and support of your position, using clear arguments;
  • Two outside research sources that will be used to support your position and which have in-text citations when they are used;
  • A Works Cited page, in proper format, that includes MLA citations for the story and for any outside sources you use;
  • A finished, proofread and edited drafts turned in on time and in format

The essay has a 1500-word minimum length. Essays not meeting the word-length minimum will receive a completion credit between 25-45 points at my discretion.

It must include a Works Cited page, which includes any source you use in the essay. You may use any of the research sources I provide on Eagle Online. I will give you the correct MLA citation for the story “Omelas.”

The essay must contain at least two acceptable, relevant research sources, with at least two direct cited quotes from that source. The source material must help explain or support what you are saying. See below for more on this.


– It must be clear how the research material you use helps explain or support what you are saying in some way that is useful or necessary. That means you must tell us what it means and why it is important.

– Do not use research sources or quotes to state commonly known or inarguable facts.

– Do not use quotes that come from Wikiquote, Brainy Quotes, or any other “quotation-aggregator.”

– Dictionary definitions, encyclopedia entries, and Wikipedia entries do not count as research. (Wikipedia entries can be very useful for links and general information, but never use Wikipedia as a cited source.)

– “Note” sites such as Schmoop, SparkNotes, etc. cannot be used or cited as research. Free-essay sites such as 123helpme also cannot be used and should never be part of your essay in any way.

– Do not plagiarize. If you are using the words of a source, use quotation marks. If you are using just the ideas of a source, it still must be cited in the text.

Everything I am asking you to do is within your capabilities. If you don’t understand what something means, ask, or look somewhere else for a simpler explanation. Don’t forget to edit and proofread for a final draft – do not turn in your first draft.


1. Introduction: something that gets a reader’s attention and gives that reader an idea of what the main idea(s) or theme of the essay will be. (1 paragraph)

2. Objective Description: the story “Omelas” — what it is, what the moral/ethical question is that it asks, your position on that question, and the reason(s) you hold that position. (1-2 paragraphs)

4. Discussion of how the moral/ethical dilemma of “Omelas” applies to real life that we actually live. Here is a place to use evidence and example(s), such as the Rana Plaza video. (1-2 paragraphs)

5. What is your position here — in “real life,” do you still have the same response you did in your thesis? Why or why not? Here is where your thesis statement will appear. (1-2 paragraphs)

6. Conclusion: where you wrap up and leave the readers with the main ideas you want them to have.

7. Works Cited page containing all the sources used and cited in the essay, following the example format I provided.

Where research can be used:

I am asking you to use two research sources, in addition to the story “Omelas.” The research can be used to:

1. Support or help explain why you take the position you have about whether it is acceptable to trade the one child’s happiness for a whole society’s happiness;

2. Show a real-life example of a situation that’s like that trade-off, such as in the links I provided to situations like coffee-farming;

3. Support or help you explain why you think it is acceptable or not, in real life, to make that trade-off.

Remember two things about research and citation:

  • Anything you use from any outside source, whether you are quoting it or restating it in your own words, must have in in-text citation showing which source it comes from. I have provided examples and links for how to do this.
  • Your Works Cited must contain MLA-format citations for all research sources you use, including the story “Omelas.” I have provided a sample Works Cited, and examples and links for MLA format.

You can also use the library (the HCC library has a chat function for questions) and the online tutoring to help you with citations, quoting, and MLA format.

It is important to notice the difference between objective and subjective.

The description of adobe is objective: it is a factual description in technical terms. The things it says are objectively true and not dependent on anyone’s personal point of view or experience.

The rest of the paragraph is a subjective description of one person’s sensory experience. You are seeing, hearing, smelling what the narrator does, from his or her point of view, and it would be different — and be described differently — depending on who was writing it.

“Star Wars has a main character named Luke Skywalker” is an objective statement. It’s factually true regardless of who is watching it.

“Star Wars is a good movie” is a subjective statement. Whether this is true or not depends on the speaker’s feelings.

“An orange is round, and a fruit that grows on a tree, and has a peel” are objective statements.

“Oranges are the sweetest and best-tasting fruit, and they always remind me of home” are subjective statements.


When titles of works appear in your essay, please follow these standard rules. The rules apply every time the titles appear, including in citations.

Titles of films, albums/CDs, books, names of newspapers and magazines, websites: ITALICS, NO QUOTATION MARKS.

The New York Times

Good Girl Gone Bad

Purple Rain

Star Wars


(These are”whole works,” or what MLA format calls “containers”)

Titles of stories, essays, poems, book chapters, newspaper and magazine articles, song titles: QUOTATION MARKS, NO ITALICS.

“Oil Prices Rise On War Fears”

“When Doves Cry”