In ” The Ones Who Walked Away from Omelas”, the dark cellar the child sits in suggests that the citizens of Omelas are willing to have one person suffer in order for the rest of the town to be happy. The child also symbolizes guilt for some since after seeing the child suffer, some of the residents of Omelas decide to leave. Those who decide to leave can not live with themselves knowing that their lives are good all because one child is suffering for them. The flute player that continuously plays shows that despite having the child in the cellar not everyone is entirely happy. The flute player symbolizes loneliness since he is only acknowledged with a smile but never talked to because he is always playing, but when he stops playing not a single word is said to him.
The story criticizes society by implying the majority of people are willing to live a joyful life despite knowing about the horrible or unjust events happening. The only people of Omelas that interact with the child are the ones who kick the child in order to make it stand up,everyone else just stands around watching in disgust and fear. The same can be said about people in our society that see a homeless man or woman. Most will not interact with them because they are disgusted and some even fear the homeless.
In the short story “A Pair of Tickets” the author Amy Tan uses the setting to develop the story of Jing-Mei as she travels to China with her father to meet her twin sisters. From the beginning Jing-Mei states that she does not feel like she is Chinese despite her own mother telling her it is in her blood. However her feelings begin to change the second she is on a train heading towards China.The train ride is symbolic because just like Jing-Mei sees the change occurring outside, we begin to see a change in her. As Jing-Mei and her father are getting off the train, Jing-Mei thinks to herself, “I feel as if we are getting on the number 30 Stockton bus in San Francisco.”(Tan 123) As the people push each other, she is not bothered by it since it is nothing new to her, she even says, “It feels right. I start pushing too.”(Tan 123) The readers begin to see how Jing-Mei feels right at home in China despite denying to her mother before that she made any Chinese in her blood.
Later in the story we see another part of the setting that shows how Jing-Mei truly is Chinese according to what she herself defined as Chinese. When Jing-Mei first see the hotel they are staying at, she believes the travel agent made a mistake and got them an expensive hotel. Then she proceeds to try bargain with the employee at the front desk only to be surprised that rooms had been paid for and for a lower price than she had imagined. Jing-Mei is doing the exact same thing that she believed was what all Chinese women did, and that was try to bargain for a reasonable price. Jing-Mei uses stereotypes to identify what it means to be Chinese and her trying to bargain shows just how Chinese she is by her own definition. Later when they are going to eat she expects a “traditional” Chinese feast, instead her relatives order hamburgers. She did not expect her native Chinese relatives to want to eat an American meal in the hotel.
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