The Correlation Between ‘The Ones Who Walk Away From Omelas’ by Ursula K. Le Guin and BTS’ Theory

naver.com

Meet the World-Famous Boy Group, BTS!

Please welcome one of the most successful boy-bands from South Korea, BTS!

Their popularity is no joke, and it feels like they’re ready to conquer the world by becoming the biggest boy-bands in history. BTS is known for their unique concept and the deep meanings of their songs. They’ve tackled issues that are very relatable for the younger generation, like the importance of self-love, friendship, chasing your dreams, finding yourself, and so on.

One of their hit songs is titled Spring Day, which was released in 2017 and won Song of the Year at the 9th Melon Music Awards in the same year. Many people theorize that the Spring Day music video has a connection with the book The Ones Who Walk Away From Omelas, by Ursula K. Le Guin.

In this article, Channel-Korea will be providing you all the information you need to know about the correlation between BTS’s song Spring Day and Ursula K. Le Guin’s book The Ones Who Walk Away From Omelas. So, stay tuned!

About The Ones Who Walk Away From Omelas by Ursula K. Le Guin

The Ones Who Walk Away From Omelas by Ursula K. Le Guin contains a short story in which Omelas, a calm, beautiful city in which everyone is very happy. It turned out to have a mystery as a pillar of perfection in that city.

Omelas is a city full of happiness and perfection, especially when the summer festival comes. The people are polite and always smiling, and the sound of music and colorful ribbons add to the joy of the city. The air was so bright that the snow that remained on the peak of Eighteen Peak melted with golden-white fire, carried by the air full of sunlight, under the blue sky. The air was filled with faint sweet cheer, gathering together into the apparent excitement of the tolling bells.

Omelas is a city without leaders, without kings. Even so, everything is orderly, serene, and peaceful. They did not employ slaves, nor were they barbaric. They are not a simple society, not a gentle shepherd, nor a savage nobleman. There are no words that can describe their happiness.

Behind their system of happiness, there are things that are worth sacrificing. It was not covered up, nor was it revealed. Those sacrifices were considered a fair price to ensure their happiness. Something broken, sad, that makes them secretly want to cry without making a sound.

Those who know have left the city, others have lived with equal feelings. Now you must be curious, what is it that is hidden in Omelas?

All happiness has a price. In a quiet corner in the town of Omelas, there is a very dilapidated little room inhabited by a small child. The child is around 9 or 10 years old. In a dilapidated and dirty room, the little boy lived and was left starving, in pain, lonely, and isolated from the residents of Omelas. Almost all the residents of Omelas, young and old, know about the existence of the child. They remain silent about his circumstances because if they free the child and treat him properly, all the beautiful things and happiness that surround Omelas will be lost.

But there are also a handful of residents who cannot accept this condition, and, one by one, decide to go through the gate of Omelas and disappear into the mountain forests without direction and purpose of leaving Omelas, leaving all the pleasures there and never returning.

The Ones Who Walk Away from Omelas is a short story written by an American female writer, Ursula K. Le Guin, published in 1973. In the early days of her popularity, The Ones Who Walks Away from Omelas was nominated for a Locus award for Best Short Fiction in 1974. Later the same year, Le Guin’s work won a Hugo Award as the best short story. The novel contains 12 short science fiction stories.

About BTS’s Spring Day

Spring Day was the first single from the repackaged album Wings (2016), released in 2017 as You Never Walk Alone, and distributed by Big Hit Entertainment. The song was a hit, topping the Gaon Digital Chart, and since then it has reached 2,500,000+ downloads. The album also won the 2017 Melon Music Award for Song of the Year. On February 12, 2017, the music video for Spring Day was uploaded to YouTube, and reached 9 million views within 24 hours, breaking the record set by BTS’s previous single, Blood, Sweat, & Tears.

Let’s see what ARMYs said about this song!

[+16k] Spring Day holds a special place in every literally every ARMYs heart…

[+3.7k] This isn’t a song. This is art. A beautiful and meaningful picture

[+1.2k] This song always makes me feel like someone is giving me a warm hug

[+376] 2019: This song is a masterpiece 2200: This song is still a masterpiece

[+100] spring day was made so that people who go through a hard time can listen to this song, people who feel insecure this song makes them feel loved and special. that why its never fallen off the charts. STAN SPRING DAY!

BTS’ Spring Day Theory From The Book Perspective

tumblr.com

ARMY are geniuses when it comes to making theories about BTS’s music videos. They can always find a connection or an important clue to come to a deeper understanding of the video’s meaning It didn’t take long for them to figure out that the Spring Day music video has references to The Ones Who Walk Away From Omelas.

Here’s one of the theories, which was originally posted by Sigongsa (Korean publishing company) on Naver on June 26, 2017, and translated by @BTSARMY_Salon on Twitter.

The first thing they discussed is how the BTS members spent the entire winter alone.

Omelas is a distant past (or distant future) fictional place. There’s no emperor, there’s no conflict, there are no slaves, there are no sinners. Filled with joy, a bell peal, a parade, a party, and a racehorse, it is a village where people gather and live a happy life of equality and freedom. BTS’s Spring Day music video starts differently. The members are scattered at a fictitious railway station called 일영 [Il-young: welcoming the rising sun], on a snow-capped railway in the middle of winter, on a beach with absolute silence, and on a train going somewhere with ‘friends’ unattended luggage.

In front of a dilapidated carousel ride is written “YOU NEVER WALK ALONE,” Jungkook is waiting cheerlessly. They’re all on their own.

 

armysalon.wordpress.com

Meanwhile, in front of a building called Omelas, RM passes a vacant railroad car and encounters Suga and J-Hope. RM goes into the building. The first appearance of Omelas is here.

youtube.com

Next, scenes are shown almost like flashbacks following the view of RM. The members of  BTS have fun. Wildly, they have a food fight and mess up a room. Then they enjoy sticking a sparkler in the cake for their days. Something is lacking and unorganized, however. Looking at the sparkler, they’re not looking so pleased. The more time passes, the more the feeling becomes darker and gloomier.

armysalon.wordpress.com

For the second part, the theory discusses Omelas, a society that is ruled by false happiness.

RM stands in front of Omelas with J-Hope and Suga on a snowy winter evening. Where they are, Omelas is full of false joy. How is Omelas maintaining happiness? Let’s read together from the story. The writer talks about a 10-year-old child in a dusty, damp, and dirt-piled basement room, suffering from fear and hunger with beautiful public buildings all around. The definition that follows is even more surprising.

“They all know it is there, all the people of Omelas. Some of them have come to see it, others are content merely to know it is there. They all know that it has to be there. Some of them understand why, and some do not, but 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, even the abundance of their harvest and the kindly weathers of their skies, depend wholly on this child’s abominable misery.”
― The Ones Who Walk Away from Omelas, 464 p.

The joy of the village is preserved by the miserable life of one child who is innocent and poor! Le Guin is a coldly portraying the brutality of modern society. We evasively turn away from looking at the ugly realities of life. We feel a little sorry, but by ignoring those kids, we excuse ourselves and enjoy the pleasures we have, saying “That’s how it is, it can’t be helped.”

The third part is more interesting, its about the BTS members who walk away from Omelas.

The group sings, “I hate us, time is cruel”. They give up saying, “I’m going to erase you who left me behind”, but they promise, “If you’re going to stay up for just a few more nights I’m going to meet you, I’m going to come to get you”.

Jimin brings a couple of shoes from the beach. He and the other members enter Omelas to find a laundry room (Can you see shoes next to Jimin?). The best part of the music video is this laundry room scene (The scene where the clock stopped at 9:35 reveals again that this song and the music video remember the victims of the Sewol Ferry. The first patrol ships arrived at 9:35 a.m. to evacuate passengers and crew members.)

Instead of celebrating the fake happiness of Omelas, which is the cake and sparkler, BTS wants to clean the clothes of countless victims themselves. In the darkness that no one wants to touch, they clean the dirty clothes piled up.

salonarmy.wordpress.com

They finally realize what their ‘spring day’ is and how it should feel. They are willing to leave Omelas controlled by fake happiness. Then a ‘light’ returns to them, the sign of ‘spring day.’ The carousel ride no one sees has yellow ribbons attached to it and lights up at the same time. Sitting on top of the train during a beautiful sunrise, J-Hope flies a paper plane.

salonarmy.wordpress.com

Jungkook opens Omelas’s door again. Jungkook and the members come together to pass the laundry room filled with warm hues. The wandering is over now. It’s the end of the days in the relentless cold and darkness, where it’s winter even in August. Among them, outside of Omelas is ‘a place where no one’s pain is forgotten’, and their spring day is ‘the moment not to forget the sorrow of anybody’.

armysalon.wordpress.com

The fourth part is finally about the warm sunshine of a spring day.

The reunited members are not childishly hanging around or playing with fireworks. They sit quietly around and light a candle. The mountain of clothing is no longer in the deep and humid darkness. They are piled up with all the members in the blue sky.

armysalon.wordpress.com

The members are no longer isolated, either. They take the train together and move on to a field under the warm sunshine, where the snow is melting. Recalling the closing scene of the film “Snowpiercer,” in this sequence the seven members lean on each other and look at an upright and solid tree in the middle of the field. (A tree is also portrayed in the world of Le Guin’s fiction as a very sacred living thing, in general.)

armysalon.wordpress.com

The bare tree is now prepared to welcome spring. Jimin hangs the shoes he brought from the beach during the desolate winter. It is, of course, the expression that cherishes the memory of the innocent soul in the boots. The music video ends as the camera captures distant petals of cherry blossoms under the blue sky and the tree on the spring day.

armysalon.wordpress.com

Someone who can share the pain, make mistakes, and remember someone’s else’s sorrow is truly the strongest hero. Maybe BTS already understands this truth.

What a great story for just a music video, don’t you think? With BTS, it’s always more than a music video. And let’s appreciate the original writer of the theory who nicely put into words the connection between Spring Day‘s music video and The Ones Who Walk Away From Omelas.