This music video of the BTS song Spring Day is heavy in symbolism. The group has said they would leave it up to the audience to interpret. The reason it's being included is because it contains images of Omelas (at 5:06). These interpretations discuss the short story "The Ones Who Walk Away from Omelas." Also the film Snowpiercer is included in the symbolism. Bong Joon Ho's (Parasite) 2013 film's theme is that capitalism is a system that allows for the exploitation of the many to support a select few.
Essay #1: Connecting Stories to the Real World
In the short story “The Ones Who Walk Away From Omelas,” Ursula K. Le Guin describes a city where almost everyone is supremely happy. She describes this fictional place, Omelas, as a “city in a fairy tale, long ago and far away, once upon a time” (1). While all the citizens of Omelas seem to be living in a utopia, the place has one very sinister secret: it keeps a child in isolation in a small holding cell. Without much of a detailed explanation, readers understand that the peace and prosperity of Omelas is connected to the suffering of this small child. Le Guin’s story is a metaphor for the many real instances in which the happiness or wellbeing of a community rests on the suffering of others, often who remain out of sight.
For instance, many people across the world enjoy the use of smartphones, laptops, and other electronics. However, the batteries that power many of these devices require cobalt, which Congolese children mine under grueling conditions. The exploitation of Congolese cobalt miners has been documented by human rights organizations such as Amnesty International and has recently come to light in the international press. Much like the people of Omelas, individuals who enjoy the use of such devices benefit from the exploitation of these unseen children cobalt miners in the Democratic Republic of Congo and other places.
Can you think of other examples? For Essay 1, connect the metaphor of Ursula K. Le Guin’s “The Ones Who Walk Away From Omelas” with a similar injustice in the real world. Note: the example of Congolese cobalt miners has been provided only to illustrate the type of connection that the prompt encourages. You may not use this example in your essay. Your task is to 1) identify a similar injustice or instance of exploitation, and 2) document your examples with the appropriate sources. Appropriate sources may include investigative journalism, reports from organizations such as Human Rights Watch or Amnesty International, academic publications, and/or documentaries.
• Length requirement: 4-5 double-spaced pages
• MLA format with Works Cited page. For guidance on MLA standards, consult the MLA Citation Style and Integrating Sources handouts on Blackboard.
• Aim for about one citation per body paragraph. A citation can be a direct quote or paraphrase. Remember that direct quotations should not run for longer than 3 lines of typed text.
• Spell and grammar checked, proofread.
• The essay will be graded according to a rubric provided on Blackboard. The rubric is based in the following categories: Argument, Organization, Evidence, Formatting and Citation, Grammar and Syntax.
• Please submit on Blackboard as .pdf or .docx file in the Assignments Folder -> Major Essays.
• You must submit a rough draft and final draft by the due dates indicated on the syllabus.
United Students Against Sweatshops - United Students Against Sweatshops (USAS, pronounced 'you-sas') is the nation’s largest youth-led, student labor campaign organization with affiliated locals on over 150 campuses. USAS chapters run both local and internationally-coordinated campaigns for economic justice in partnership with worker and community organizations.
Institute for Global Labour and Human Rights - Workers Uniting draws on the energies of more than three million active and retired workers from the United States, Canada, Great Britain and the Republic of Ireland who work in virtually every sector of the global economy, including manufacturing, service, mining and transportation. The global union’s founding Constitution calls on its combined membership to “build global union activism, recognizing that uniting as workers across international boundaries is the only way to challenge the injustices of globalization.”
Amnesty International - Through our detailed research and determined campaigning, we help fight abuses of human rights worldwide. We bring torturers to justice. Change oppressive laws. And free people jailed just for voicing their opinion.
United Nations Human Rights Office of the High Commissioner - The Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (UN Human Rights) is the leading UN entity on human rights. We represent the world's commitment to the promotion and protection of the full range of human rights and freedoms set out in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.