The Giver is the famous young adult dystopian novel made by Lois Lowry in 1993. This novel is set in a society that is in the future. In the beginning, it first appeared as utopian but as the readers read further, it is become more obvious to say that this is dystopian. What is a dystopia? “Dystopia” is the word to describe the exact opposite meaning of the word “Utopia”. If “Utopia” is a society that possesses highly desirable, perfect, or nearly perfect qualities for its citizens, a city that doesn’t have any problems. We could say that dystopia is a society in which there is great suffering of ịnjustice, a dehumanizing society that is full of unpleasant and totalitarian. Base on what I have said, I would say that the society in The Giver is a dystopia for 3 reasons. I think the way they chose the community would be is not what a utopia should be. They decided to follow something which is known as “Sameness”, that is the first reason. This leads to the second reason. To maintain “Sameness”, the community has accepted to trade a big loss, and that is emotions. Things that we called feelings such as love, hate, and empathy have been completely erased by the governments to avoid their citizens from making wrong choices. And the last reason, which is another rule made by the governments to maintain this environment, The environment of total security and safety, and this reduce choices of the community. This makes the citizen can’t choose their own choices, the governments decided what they “must” do.
Just start at the beginning, we would say that this is utopian. In this utopian, Lois Lowry shows us a world where war, poverty, crime, suffering, and diseases have completely been eliminated. In this “Utopian” community, the governments and the citizens try to maintain one thing, and that is “Sameness”. This is when everyone and everything is equal. As the man stored both the best and the worst aspects of humanity, The Giver explained to Jonas: “Our people made that choice, the choice to go to Sameness. Before my time, before the previous time, back and back and back. We relinquished color when we relinquished sunshine and did away with a difference. We gained control of many things. But we had to let go of others”. This means that in this community, they don’t have many colors. Jonas and The Giver are the 2 only people who can see the colors of the things around them. Basically, they relinquished colors due to the fact that they were scared their citizens would make the wrong choices. But in my view, this is not what a utopian should be,
This leads to the second point, their emotions. Memories of basic human emotions such as love, hate, sad, … have been completely erased. People don’t have any right to “emotions”. To make this could happen, they have done a very scary thing. In the community, every single day, every single citizen in the community must inject a type of medicine, and this medicine avoids them from stirrings, which is a type of feeling when a citizen when gets to the adolescent stage and dreams of sexual longing for the other sex. Moreover, they did 1 more thing. Emotions are not the only thing that has been erased by the governments, defining cultural such as art, music, and literature have also been deleted. This happened due to the governments afraid the citizens will have their own emotions when they know about culture. And again, the only 2 people who knew about this are The Giver and Jonas.
The other 2 reasons that I talked about have partly shown us the truth of society, and now, this last reason will reveal the real face of society. In each society, even our current real-life society, It is quite not very good. Although, each single people in the community still have the right to say their own opinions what they truly think. They could choose their own jobs, a mate for them, what they want to say,… We called that “CHOICES”. The governments let them make their own choices as long as they take responsibility for their own choices and their choices don’t affect to economics and politics of a country. But what happened in the community in The Giver is the governments don’t allow citizens to make their own choices. They tell them what they must do, they have no choice in mates, child-bearing or in work. In the community, there is a council of the Elders, they decided the lifestyles of the citizens. They chose all of the choices for each citizen, down to the last detail one, just to prevent them from making the wrong choices. That is the thing that makes me feel most uncomfortable about the community.
In my point of view, the idea of this utopia is very interesting and creative, but it just simply turned into a dystopia just because of the main reason. I think that is due to people don’t have their own freedom with their own emotions, their own words, and their own action. The government controls everything of a citizen. From all 3 reasons that I have mentioned, we can easily see that the governments controlled 90-95% life of a single citizen. In other words, a free society should preserve and respect individual choice in all areas of human activity and would stand in stark contrast to the dystopia of The Giver. What the governments have done to the citizens in The novel community just leads it to a community of essential robots. They chose to give up choices and differences, give up emotions and colors, give up culture and art, and people just follow the leader unquestioningly. Jonas and The Giver are the only 2 people who understood the big cost that the community has paid, even though people themselves couldn’t see it. “Perfect ain’t as perfect as it seems”.