The Giver Essay Utopia

The Giver: Utopia and Dystopia

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Trang Le Antarctica – March 10, 2010 The Giver Essay Lois Lowry’s The Giver is set in a futuristic, dichotomous society, one that is both utopian and dystopian. In response to the overwhelming destruction and chaos in the world, the Elders have attempted to create and maintain a peaceful and orderly utopia, but this security comes at a price. The citizens of the community have sacrificed their individuality and freedom. Although most adult members have some knowledge of the hypocrisies involved, they choose to perpetuate the deception, allowing the community, as a whole, to continue on blissful ignorance.

When young Jonas is confronted with all the truths of the present and all the memories of the past, he must choose for himself whether the sacrifice is worth it. Lowry uses this fictitious community to remind her readers of the value of independent thinking. We all crave stability and security, but at what cost? The utopian setting of the community allows the citizens live in an arranged and calm paradise. The community has climate control, meaning they keep it at the same temperature the same and have no seasons or different kinds of weather.

This is very normal to the citizens, but to The Receiver and The Giver, it is very abnormal. They aren’t able to enjoy the sensation of snow, the feeling of sunlight, the warmth or coolness of a simple breeze; it is the same every day. As Jonas receives his first memory, he feels the chill of snow and the joy of a hill. He exclaims that he is surprised because he didn’t know that there was such a thing as snow, or a sled, or a hill. He wonders and questions why his own community had no such things, but climate control made snow go obsolete and hills became flat ground.

As Jonas experiences more memories and sees beyond his community he begins to realize that Sameness wasn’t very good, that it made everything alike, there was no such thing as individuality. The community experiences no real, sufficient pain, just cuts and bruises, nothing serious enough to make them want to cry. The sadness, the emptiness, the hurt, the community never felt any of it. The Receiver has to experience it alone. Giving them so much pain that they have to go on alone, without a companion to share their memories with.

The community is colorless, through the eyes of its people, everything is colorless. Preciseness of words is very important. One error in a child’s speech and they could be hit. Poor little Asher had gone silent for a month because of the smacks he got, just because he had said ‘smacks’ instead of ‘snacks’. The community doesn’t have any emotions; the word ‘love’ has gone obsolete. Adults laugh at the word ‘love’ because no one uses it anymore and it has very little meaning. But to Jonas, “love” is not meaningless, it meant a lot; it is meaningful.

The many policies and conditions the community has set limits on its residents. Each family unit had the maximum of four members. Civilians would apply for a spouse, a first child, or a second child. They aren’t able to choose themselves and they aren’t able to have their own children because they think they will choose the wrong one. The children that reside in the community have a specific appearance, such as hair and clothing to make them more organized and neat-looking. Depending on your age, your hairstyle would be different from the children from different age groups.

When you turn a year older, you get a new jacket with more features than the one you used during the past year. When you become a Ten, if you are a female, your braids were to be cut off, and if you are a boy, your long childish locks are cut off the show your ears and make you look manlier with your short haircut. At the Ceremony of Twelves, the children get their job; they are given a specific job that fits their actions and by where they had spent most of their volunteer hours.

Everything is chosen for you, you can’t make a choice that’s important by yourself, and someone else is to choose for you. The Release of the Old and the Release of some of the unfortunate infants may seem very benign but it isn’t. Other folk believe Release to Elsewhere would nice but what they think is wrong. The workers actually use a syringe and inject fluids into the innocent elder, infant, or voluntary victim to kill them. Jonas’ father had to Release the innocent twin brother because he was identical but was smaller than his sibling.

Jonas believes that the people that Release others have no feelings; that they have no regard that they are killing an innocent life just because they were born that way or that they were getting too old. Jonas discovers what is really beyond his community, beyond all the rules and policies they have to follow; he decides to leave and give all of his memories to the rest of the community so they would know about what they have not seen or experienced before. Jonas discovers that the community has decided too many things for everyone. He realizes Sameness is not right, that it cannot last any longer.

He thinks of all the what-ifs. What if the Elders choose a wrong spouse? What if the Elders choose the wrong job for someone? What if everyone was able to see color? Would life be better? Would life be more pleasant? He realizes the only way to find out is to leave. The Giver and Jonas decide for Jonas to leave and never come back. He is to go further and further away from the community so that all of the memories that he has received will go into the minds of everyone else living in the community, allowing them to see beyond the bleak life within Sameness.

Jonas leaves because he believes that if all of his memories were to be transmitted to everyone else in the community, life could go back to the way it was before Sameness. He hopes that the community will become independent and not the same as everything else. The community is very safe, but can’t they trade some of the security into freedom? The community is trapped in rules and regulations they all have to follow that limit all their individual thoughts and their opinions.

The community would in fact be a little less safe, but freedom is important as well, and the citizens on Jonas’ community have no freedom whatsoever. They are even limited to their speech. It’s like they can’t choose for themselves, like toddlers, but they should be more sensible than that. They should have the capability to make decisions without other people choosing for them. The Patriot Act was issued in 2001 after 9/11 struck. The Patriot Act gave the authorities to do whatever they want, such as search homes without the owner’s permission or go through phone calls without a court order.

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Lois Lowry’s utopian community doesn’t allow its people to choose what goes on in their lives. The Patriot Act did the same thing but it had something to do with the citizens’ privacy. The Patriot Act took away the freedom of talking on the phone knowing anyone might be listening in on them. It took away some of the freedom they had and added more security, but it also invaded their privacy. Jonas may have been a Twelve, but he has a creative mind and can ‘see-beyond’, believing that one day, his community may go back to being what it was like in the past.

Author: Brandon Johnson

in The Giver

The Giver: Utopia and Dystopia

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Why the Giver Is a Great Example of a Utopia

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Have you ever wondered about after getting up in the morning and never have to look in the mirror and do your hair or pick out an outfit good enough? Even have to worry about getting laid off and losing your home and possibly getting a divorce? Maybe even just knowing that no one will ever say anything mean to you or do anything to upset you, sounds pretty like a utopia don’t you think? That is why I think Jonas’s community is a utopia. One of the main reasons why I believe the giver is a utopia is because no one cares what they wear, they never have to worry about what anyone thinks because there are no attraction relationships.

For example they don’t get to choose their spouses; they are just giving to them. Another reason it doesn’t matter what you look like in Jonas’s Community is because you never have to dress up to go to work, you never have to dress up to go out with friends because they all wear the same thing. An example of this is when Jonas said “mirrors were rare in the community (…) but there was no real need for them” (21). This shows that people haven’t cared about what other people think about each other or even cared about what they think about themselves is so long that mirrors are rare.

Not only is never worrying about what you look like an example of a utopia but there are many more. Another main reason why I strongly believe that the giver is a utopia is because they never have to get stressed about finding a job and putting food on the table. All jobs are just handed to the people as best fit as possible. An example of this is when Jonas is given the job as the receiver of memory. “Jonas was identified as a possible receiver many years ago. There were no dreams of uncertainty (…) with his hands firmly on Jonas’s shoulders as he looked at him” (62).

In Jonas’s society no jobs require getting paid but everyone gets what they need if they work, so everyone works. Have you ever heard of a person lousing their job and saying they lost everything? That is because jobs are one of the most important things in life to have for most people. If jobs are that easy to get, I defiantly think haven a job given to you is a great characteristic of a utopia. My final reason is because everyone is kind to each other and treats everyone with respect, which leads to almost no wrong doing. Can you imagine a world with all kind people, no 911, no murders not even people saying mean hings? When someone does three serious bad things they are released because it is important in Jonas’s society that everyone is good. And when someone even comes in late to a class room they have to apologize to everyone. An example is when Asher comes in late he has to make a public announcement to say sorry. “Asher apologized and everyone forgave him” (14) as easy as that. Is Jonas’s community there are very strict rules about being nice but in the end it pays off because is leads to no sadness, no depression, everyone is content and happy. Always feeling safe, never have to worry, always feeling perfect.

All because of living in a perfect society just like a utopia. I believe that Jonas’s community is a utopia because even thinking about living in a place where everyone follows the rules, everyone is happy and content and no one is better than anyone else sounds like a perfect community. When living in a place like this it does require many rules and lack of knowledge about some things but aren’t very important. Like knowing about what an elephant is or what it’s like when it’s freezing cold. But who wants to know about things that make us sad? Jonas’s community is an excellent example of what the meaning of a utopia really is.

Author: Brandon Johnson

in The Giver

Why the Giver Is a Great Example of a Utopia

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