“This is usually explained to children when they are between eight and twelve, whenever they seem capable of understanding; and most of those who come to see the child are young people, though often enough an adult comes, or comes back, to see the child.”

This quote comes at the story’s turning point, just after it has been revealed that Omelas’s success is founded upon the suffering of a singular child. The age given is important and indicates that seeing the child is a coming-of-age ritual, a rite of passage. The ritual represents the way gaining knowledge itself is a requirement for growing up. Additionally, the fact that adults come back to see the child occasionally means that a reminder of the child’s suffering is necessary to uphold their position as contributing members of Omelas society.

“Their tears at the bitter injustice dry when they begin to perceive the terrible justice of reality, and to accept it. Yet it is their tears and anger, the trying of their generosity and the acceptance of their helplessness, which are perhaps the true source of the splendor of their lives.”

This quote describes the children’s reaction to being shown the suffering child. In order to become an adult in Omelas, children are given knowledge of something terrible and asked to learn to accept it as a condition for participation in society. This description allegorizes the process of anger at and acceptance of injustice in the real world. Just as knowledge is a rite of passage in Omelas, so too is it the path to adulthood in real life.