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Humanities 2016, 5(3), 67; doi:10.3390/h5030067

Walking off the Edge of the World: Sacrifice, Chance, and Dazzling Dissolution in the Book of Job and Ursula K. Le Guin’s “The Ones Who Walk Away from Omelas”

Department of Political Science, University of Alaska, Fairbanks, AK 99774, USA
Academic Editor: Albrecht Classen
Received: 15 June 2016 / Revised: 25 July 2016 / Accepted: 29 July 2016 / Published: 9 August 2016
View Full-Text   |   Download PDF [208 KB, uploaded 9 August 2016]

Abstract

This article compares Ursula K. Le Guin’s short story, “The Ones Who Walk Away from Omelas” (1974) to the book of Job. Both stories feature characters who can be read as innocent victims, but whereas the suffering in Le Guin’s tale benefits many, Job is the victim of useless suffering. Exploring this difference, I draw on George Bataille’s theory of sacrifice as useless expenditure, and developed his concept of the “will to chance” in my reading of how each set of characters responds to the complex moral impasses faced. In the end, I read both stories as being about the struggle to create a viable, meaningful life in a world that is unpredictable and structurally unjust. View Full-Text
Keywords: Ursula K. Le Guin; Job; sacrifice; guilt; chance; complicity; redemption Ursula K. Le Guin; Job; sacrifice; guilt; chance; complicity; redemption
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).

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MDPI and ACS Style

Hirsch, A.K. Walking off the Edge of the World: Sacrifice, Chance, and Dazzling Dissolution in the Book of Job and Ursula K. Le Guin’s “The Ones Who Walk Away from Omelas”. Humanities 2016, 5, 67.

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