The Giver’ Dystopia: Critical Analysis Essay

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Imagine a world where everyone is the same. Same house, same food, same clothes, and same beliefs. Individuality and freedom are stripped from each and every person and you would be killed in you thought any different. In Lois Lowry's novel, The Giver all of this is reality. They live in a world with no freedom or justice.

The distinct set of rules that set out to make the community a utopia actually turned it into a dystopia seizing the freedom from its people. The community enforces a rule called precision of language. This rule dictates what a person is allowed to say. There is a scene in the book in which Jonas asks if his parents love him to which his father says “precision of language.” This highlights how the community has been able to eradicate every person’s ability to say and feel what they want. On page 70 it explains the reason for the precision of language by stating “the reason for the precision of language was to ensure that unintentional lies were never uttered.”

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Another way the community was able to take freedom was with pills. These pills were to stop things called stirrings. In reality, these ‘stirrings’ were actually the person's feelings towards another. In chapter 5, Jonas is telling his mother about a dream he was having. He said that the strongest feeling in the dream was wanting. Then his mother says “You’re ready for the pills… the treatment for the stirrings.” This implies that the pills take away any ‘unwanted’ feelings.

The community has even taken away people’s freedom to feel true emotions. Each evening, the individuals of Jonas' Community discuss their emotions with family members in their dwellings. However, the thoughts they share are shallow and superficial, since they are shared by mindless individuals going about their business. Lily's displeasure about the event at the park with the child from another neighborhood who did not obey the rules, for example, was not genuine. Instead, Jonas understood she was experiencing 'impatience and irritation,' and she felt instantly better after discussing her thoughts with her family. This example shows that the people of the community are numb to raw emotions.

Memories are important in The Giver because they provide people with wisdom and experience. The Giver and Jonas discuss the importance of receivers, with The Giver arguing that they supply Wisdom to the community, allowing them to make the best decisions possible. Taking away a person's memories has once again proved the community's interest in making the world they live in a dystopia. On page 105 The Giver says “they know nothing.” And that is true, the community knows nothing of the real world or about the choices they would be able to make if they had access to the memories

The community is trying to create a utopia by taking the memories of the past away from the people. Jonas was starting to question the Giver on why he is unable to exchange memories with other members of the community in order to relieve his anguish. 'Everyone would be burdened and pained,' the Giver informed Jonas. That is not what they desire. That is why The Receiver is so important to them, and why he is so revered. This proves that the community isn’t a true utopia, by showing us that there were people forced to hurt and suffer every day so others didn’t have to.

In The Giver, people are given spouses and kids in a dystopian future. There are no celebrations or traditions, and the people are color-blind. Meanwhile, starting at the age of 11, the Committee of Elders has complete authority over all aspects of everyday life, including what employment residents have.

One of the community’s ways of ensuring sameness is climate control. Climate control affects the temperature, the hills, the season, and more. Because of the problems it entailed, the climate became outmoded in their civilization, and it appeared to be more destructive than useful. It began as a way to allow farming to take place all year, but it soon became a component of the laws of sameness. This again proves that the Committee of Elders has taken away the choice of its people.

We learn in The Giver that making decisions about the future requires knowledge of the past. Because the people in the book lack recollection, they are unable to make real decisions. Without even knowing it, the people of the community are slaves to the Committee of Elders and bound by the rules of sameness.

In a nutshell, the community is a dystopian society. From climate control to taking away the memories of the past, the community has shown time and time again that it is a dystopia and Jonas was lucky to get out.

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