A Comparison between The Lottery and The Ones Who Walk Away from Omelas

A Comparison between The Lottery and The Ones Who Walk Away from Omelas



By reading “The Lottery” and “The ones who walked away from Omelas”, both stories are different as well as similar. The stories are similar in that, both base their story on suffering, morality and consequences. The stories revolve around the agony encountered by one individual so as to enhance the lives of others in the community; turning a blind eye to the fears of humanity for the better good of all affected individuals. Both stories are also similar in that, both include a gathering in the telling of the story. In the Le Guin’s work, a gathering is depicted where old people people in long stiff robes are indicated to gather during the sacrifice. On the other hand, this is also seen in Jackson’s work, where men and women gather in the small village ready for the offering of the sacrifice (Jackson, 2008). In both stories, an innocent individual is either harmed mentally or physically. The gatherers do not agree regarding how things should be done, but nobody speaks up about this. In the Le Guin’s work, people feel angry despite all the explanations. This is still the case in Jackson’s work, where individuals in the north of the village talk about giving up the lottery (Jackson, 2008). The stories are also similar in that they have descriptions indicating beautiful sunny days. This is depicted in the Le Guin’s work where it is indicated that there was a clamor of bell, which set the swallows soaring as the festival of summer came to the city. According to Jackson’s work, as the villagers gathered in the small village, the morning was clear and sunny, which is an indication of a beautiful day. There is the tendency of believing in the intervention of superpowers in both stories; in both stories, the people of the village offer sacrifices because they believe that the gods will be pleased and take care of the community.

The stories are further depicted to make statements regarding accepted traditions, which are passed in the form of a legacy from one generation to the next; however, these traditions should not have been passed since fearful things are generally accepted without much questioning. In the Lottery, the 70 year old man says it all regarding how it has always been and have to continue so as prosperity to go on and things to stay as status quo. In Omela’s, everyone turns a blind eye and conforms to an insane tradition so as to maintain a status quo, but some walk away to show their unwillingness to continue turning a blind eye to the unacceptable traditions (Le, 1993). Both stories use the symbol of a scapegoat; there is a person sacrificed for the greater good; however, the sacrifice is hidden from the public eye in “The ones who walk away from Omelas” while it is public in ‘The Lottery”. In Jackson’s work, the lottery is held once a year in the village square, and the lottery chooses an individual in the village who will be stoned to death (Jackson, 2008). This is different in the “Omelas” since the story indicates that a child is sacrificed in order for the society to remain in bliss. Instead of stoning the child to death like in the “Lottery”, the child is locked in a cellar (Le, 1993).


Jackson, S. (2008). The lottery. Mankato, MN: Creative Education.

Le, G. U. K. (1993). The ones who walk away from Omelas. Mankato, Minn: Creative Education.