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Final Essay

Final Essay

In the story by Ursula LeGuin we’ve read, the narrator describes an imaginary city, Omelas, which is a Utopia. The existence of this Utopia rests on one condition – the child who is kept, alone and miserable, in the cellar. All residents of the city are aware of the child, and of the condition. The only options are to accept the situation and live with it, or to walk away into an unknown future. The story asks: do you believe it is acceptable to sacrifice the one child in the basement for the perfect happiness of the entire rest of the city?

We have also looked at other material, about the Trolley Problem and some real-life issues, that are simila.

Here is the prompt for this essay:

Do you believe it is acceptable to sacrifice a few for the benefit of many more? Why or why not?

What the essay must include:

  • An introductory paragraph that introduces the main idea of the essay.
  • A situation you find in real life that shows some dilemma or sacrifice similar to what we have been discussing. 
  • Thesis, discussion and support of your position, using clear arguments;
  • Two  research sources that will be used to support your position and which have in-text citations when they are used (the story “Omelas” does not count as a research source — you can use it but it’s not one of the two). One research source should be used to describe/explain the real-life situation; one source should be used to explain/support your position on the question I asked.
  • In-text citations for all material used in the essay, and a Works Cited page, in proper format, that includes MLA citations for all sources.

See this page for tips on organizing and writing this essay.

The essay has an 1500-word minimum length. Essays not meeting the word-length minimum will receive a completion credit between 25-45 points at my discretion. There will be no opportunity for rewriting the final draft.

The essay must contain at least two acceptable, relevant research sources, with at least two direct cited quotes from that source. The source material must help explain or support what you are saying. See below for more on this.


– It must be clear how the research material you use helps explain or support what you are saying in some way that is useful or necessary. That means you must tell us what it means and why it is important.

– Do not use research sources or quotes to state commonly known or inarguable facts.

– Do not use quotes that come from Wikiquote, Brainy Quotes, or any other “quotation-aggregator.”

– Dictionary definitions, encyclopedia entries, and Wikipedia entries do not count as research. (Wikipedia entries can be very useful for links and general information, but never use Wikipedia as a cited source.)

– “Note” sites such as Schmoop, SparkNotes, etc. cannot be used or cited as research. Free-essay sites such as 123helpme also cannot be used and should never be part of your essay in any way.

– Do not plagiarize. If you are using the words of a source, use quotation marks. If you are using just the ideas of a source, it still must be cited in the text.

Good luck!


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