Journal Response to Questions from “The Ones Who Walk Away From Omelas”

The people in Omelas know about the child and accept it as the price of their happiness. This mentality made the people not only and simply lock the child in a regular room somewhere underground; they have gone beyond limits and boundaries, to and extreme extent, to torture and mistreat that child; they imprisoned him in a locked, dreary, and dark cellar with no windows and light; moreover, they worked on keeping the child in perpetual filth, darkness, and misery. All this brutality and cruelty shall guarantees the existence and continuity of happiness and prosperity of Omelas. Consequently, the locked, dark cellar, in which the child sits, simply symbolizes the deep, dark side of man’s heart that motivates and justifies all the atrocities needed for merely one’s happiness. That dark side that annihilates and overthrows all essences of humanity within one’s self to accomplish and reach the end by any means necessary and at any cost.

The implied criticism of today’s society is in the suffering imposed on people in today’s world for others to survive. A slight, yet significant, difference from Omelas is that suffering in today’s world is imposed on lots of people for a few to live. This can be noticed immensely in first world countries where people show no concern and give no attention to those in third world countries and poor countries who suffer and struggle to survive, who are deprived of life and are being exploited by the first world countries’ people to manufacture their goods and provide their oil, food, and a lot more. Most people in first world countries are aware of the poverty and misery of others and, at some point, realize that their entire civilization, life, stability, and happiness is, in one way or another, based on the misery and suffering of lots of other people in the world; furthermore, lots of those people choose to ignore that and be completely oblivious; they choose to continue enjoying their superficial, specious life at the expense of others.

Journal Response to “Curfew” by Ismet Prcic

        Though the setting and time of the story “Curfew” is set during the Bosnian War, the demeanor and mood of the narrator is immensely influenced by the bleak and pernicious sameness rather than the horror, obscenity, and atrocity of the war. The setting in the story appears to be that of a war; however, as the story unravels, the war becomes merely a background setting for the story leaving the siege of Tuzla as the main setting. This shift is considered pivot as it reveals the main cause and reasons that are afflicting the narrator’s demeanor throughout the story. Having a setting of war would give the impression of a descriptive story detailing the atrocity and horror of war; however, going at an analytical depth into the gloomy mood caused by the siege will expound and reveal the struggle of the narrator with the similarity and familiarity of everything around him, as he opens his story with, “Everything was so familiar it hurt” (Prcic). The dreary effectuation and impact of the siege make everything familiar and the same as if time is not passing, or as if the heart skipped a beat and froze waiting for time to move so it can beat again. This sameness, which dominates people’s lives during a siege, makes the suffering worse than the war itself does because it forms, without consciousness, an agonizing feeling that this suffering will never end. It drains the energy out of the body; it annihilates the soul slowly, and destroys the people inwardly that they become merely moving objects filled with flesh as Ismet describes it (Prcic). Focusing on this ‘similarity’ can be related to the similar lifestyle of people in general around the world. This correlation shows that these similarities and familiarity of things in one’s life are not necessarily caused by only war, or anything related to it like the siege. The word ‘routine’ and ‘similar’ is taking a new shape in people’s lifestyle; moreover, it is becoming the shape of lifestyle of many people around the world and causing that dreary, merciless, and dark atmosphere as the narrator describes it when he says, “Darkness was merciless, just like the familiarity of everything” (Prcic).