The Hidden Reality Of Words: The Giver

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Lois Lowry’s The Giver ignites the minds of readers, both young and old. It has a story, unlike any other young reader’s fiction novel. Not every fictional tale includes talking animals, magic, or happily ever after. Its tightening plot sends forth post-apocalyptic elements, themes, symbolism, and some ties to certain concerns of reality. I will discuss the language in The Giver, and how it is often used as a tool for social control in the isolated community.

The Giver, as mentioned, is set in the post-apocalyptic era. The community is underlining controlling and authoritative towards every citizen. A few of many rules in the story are not permitting to be different, not allowed to show any form of feeling, no free choice towards the citizens’ future, and each married couple is only allowed to have two children. The community is undeniably watched by their every move from a higher power. When I was reading The Giver, I thought about how similar it can be to present-day realities. For example, North Korea, with its restraining authority, does not allow the citizens of the country to look unique from each other. Another example is China creating laws such as the one-child policy (now two-child policy), preventing married couples to have more than one child.

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In the language of the community, “newchild” is used for social control. A baby is also known as a “newchild”. In the previous paragraph, I mentioned that married couples are only allowed to have two children, or “newchildren”. However, the mother does not give birth to the baby. Higher authority gives the baby to the couple. Similar to “newchild”, another word used for social control is called “Nurturing Center”. The young ones will stay in there for quite some time until they are given away to their parents by an authority. The last word I will mention from The Giver is “release”. “Release” seems a decent word, rather neutral. However, “release” in the story is an unnatural death: euthanasia. If citizens fail to follow the rules of the community, if one is a frail elder or imperfect “newchild”, they are “released” to a place called Elsewhere. Elsewhere as we know is not a place, just a term used to conceal the death.

Three of the many words in The Giver promote the rules of the stale community. Authority does not give families the ability to set standards and grant their fulfilling wishes. “Nurturing Center” forbids the couples from having a child with their unique sets of genes. Instead, even more so secluded women have the duty of giving birth to the children for the community. Lastly, “release” shares no respect for the life of the citizens. Instead of confronting the citizens of the cruel punishment mainly due to disobedience, higher power prefers to keep the harsh consequence hidden and provide an adequate excuse so citizens can remain in their life of what is considered normal. The words affect the young readers by reminding them that this story is not the precise reality we live in, to ease the reader in that sense, and note to them that The Giver is fantasy. The words also play the role of control over human life.

Furthermore, I believe Lowry is trying to offer her readers to perceive their lives as meaningful. We have the right to feel and think however we want, to do whatever we want. We have leadership, but not an intense dictatorship where government and society tell us who, what, when, where, and how we do. The terms in The Giver support the explanation of how society can have its downfall, and how appreciative we need to be of our position. The small fragments of reality mentioned can even show the readers how far away and perhaps even how close society can be under complete control.

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The Hidden Reality Of Words: The Giver. (2022, Jun 29). Edubirdie. Retrieved July 14, 2024, from
“The Hidden Reality Of Words: The Giver.” Edubirdie, 29 Jun. 2022,
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