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The Giver: Utopian Or Not Utopian

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Although the community in The Giver may seem utopian, things are not always what they seem. Lois Lowry, author of many young adult novels, won two Newbery Medals for her books Number the Stars and The Giver. In 2014, The Giver became a film adaptation. The Giver has become a mandatory curriculum book in some schools. The community within the novel The Giver, is not a utopian society because no one had freedoms, they are all the same, and no one feels emotions.

In the community, no one has any freedom. People are told when they have done something wrong by the speakers, who are always watching and listening. People are singled out without their name or number being used. This limits their freedom to only what the committee of Elders wants them to do and how to act. An example is when Jonas took an apple from the snack station because it changed. The speaker later reminded everyone that hoarding was not allowed (pg.29). If anyone in the community commits a serious offence, they will be released. For example when the pilot flew over the city, and was released for making a mistake, (pg.1). Release is when the person is injected with a poisonous serum. There are also speakers on the wall so elders can always be listening, and they can make announcements. The Giver is the only one in the community who is capable of turning his speaker on and off. “The Giver rose from his chair, went to the speaker on the wall, and clicked the switch from OFF to ON”(pg.184). This demonstrates that everyone is under constant surveillance, so they only do as they are told. As if freedom was not enough to striped away from the community, emotions were also numbed and forgotten.

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Emotions, an important part in our everyday life, were, in the community, dulled. In the community emotions no longer held the importance they do now. Every morning, family units share their dreams with each other and every evening they share their feelings. They do this to monitor when someone has stirrings. Jonas’s stirrings came when he had an awkward dream with fiona. Stirrings are treated with pills that supposedly remove the stirrings.the pills also play a role in the feelings and emotions being entirely erased. Having your emotions erased every day will eventually make you ignorant to even the smallest feelings. “Something within him, something that had grown there through the memories, told him to through away the pill”(pg.162). This demonstrates that jonas will have more feelings if he does not take his pill. Having no emotions plays a large role in sameness.

Sameness may seem alright, until it becomes extreme. In the community in The Giver, everyone has the same skin colour, the same clothes, and the same hair colour. This takes away a person’s right to be different and unique.Jonas feels this individuality when he gets a memory of a person’s birthday, (pg. 153) Everyone is equal until they are Twelve, then the Elders assign them their own jobs. They have no say in the matter. They are equal with their fellow workers when they get their jobs. Another restraining rule they have in the community is that you are not allowed to hoard food because everyone needs to get the same amount of everything in order for sameness to be efficient. “You Elevens have spent all your years till now learning to fit in, to standardize our behavior, to curb any impulses that might set you apart from the group” (pg. 65). This demonstrates that they were thought to be the same, to be like robots. Sameness ultimately stops a person from being an individual.

The community within the novel, The Giver, is not a utopian society, no freedom of choice dehumanizes people, no emotions make them like robots, and sameness strips away a person’s individuality. Keeping this in mind it is easy to see why Jonas and Gabe ran away from the community to find a better life.

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The Giver: Utopian Or Not Utopian. (2022, Jun 29). Edubirdie. Retrieved August 9, 2022, from
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