Ursula K. Le Guin Quotes

20 of the best book quotes from Ursula K. Le Guin
  1. #1
    “The trouble is that we have a bad habit, encouraged by pedants and sophisticates, of considering happiness as something rather stupid. Only pain is intellectual, only evil interesting.”
  2. #2
    “The terms are strict and absolute; there may not even be a kind word spoken to the child.”
  3. #3
    “We have almost lost hold; we can no longer describe a happy man, nor make any celebration of joy.”
  4. #4
    “Their tears at the bitter injustice dry when they begin to perceive the terrible justice of reality, and to accept it.”
  5. #5
    “The higher, more penetrating ideals are revolutionary. They present themselves far less in the guise of effects of past experience than in that of probable causes of future experience, factors to which the environment and the lessons it has so far taught us must learn to bend.”
  6. #6
    “Happiness is based on a just discrimination of what is necessary, what is neither necessary nor destructive, and what is destructive.”
  1. #7
    “They leave Omelas, they walk ahead into the darkness, and they do not come back. The place they go towards is a place even less imaginable to most of us than the city of happiness. I cannot describe it at all. It is possible that it does not exist.”
  2. #8
    “The city of happiness, well, we all live there and people go about their business with full knowledge of the child in the closet.”
  3. #9
    “They knew their voices broke a silence of a thousand million years, the silence of wind and leaves and wind, blowing and ceasing and blowing again.”
  4. #10
    “I will be good . . . Please let me out. I will be good!”
  5. #11
    “I think that there would be no cars or helicopters in and above the streets; this follows from the fact that the people of Omelas are happy people.”
  6. #12
    “They all know that it has to be there . . . they all understand that their happiness, the beauty of their city, the tenderness of their friendships, the health of their children, the wisdom of their scholars, the skill of their makers . . . depend wholly on this child’s abominable misery.”

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  1. #13
    “Those are the terms. To exchange all the goodness and grace of every life in Omelas for that single, small improvement: to throw away the happiness of thousands for the chance of the happiness of one.”
  2. #14
    “How to describe the citizens of Omelas? They were not simple folk, you see, though they were happy. But we do not say the words of cheer much any more. All smiles have become archaic.”
  3. #15
    “But as time goes on they begin to realize that even if the child could be released, it would not get much good of its freedom: a little vague pleasure of warmth and food, no doubt, but little more. It is too degraded and imbecile to know any real joy.”
  4. #16
    “They would like to do something for the child. But there is nothing they can do.”
  5. #17
    “I refuse to believe we are in the city of happiness and that instead we are all ones who walked away . . . Then I think we are all in the closet. Too stupid to understand what life we could have outside the walls around us.”
  6. #18
    “But to praise despair is to condemn delight, to embrace violence is to lose hold of everything else.”
  7. #19
    “No matter how well the matter has been explained to them, these young spectators are always shocked and sickened at the sight. They feel disgust, which they had thought themselves superior to.”
  8. #20
    “We watched life going on around us – work, love, childbearing, childrearing, getting and spending, making and shaping, governing and adventuring – the women’s world, the bright, full, real world – and there was no room in it for us.”
Book Topics › cities
Children's Books About Cities