Somewhere in the near future lies a world without freedom, emotion, or love. The Giver by Lois Lowry is a dystopian book that brings up a lot of questions about where society is going today. Lowry brings readers into a world in which people make no choices for themselves, and are almost completely numb to all emotions. There are many aspects of dystopia in The Giver, including government control, dehumanization, and propaganda. The first aspect of Dystopia in The Giver is government control. The government has complete control over all of its citizens, and makes sure that everyone is contributing to the community. Often, the community will “release” people that are not doing their part, which essentially means killing them when they get too old, break too many rules, or are born as a weaker twin. In the following quote, Jonas learns that release is actually murder. “He killed it! My father killed it! Jonas said to himself, stunned at what he was realizing. He continued to stare at the screen numbly.” (Page 188)
As proved by this quote, the citizens of the community have no idea that release is not a beautiful thing, but a premature death. Additionally, the government hides from its citizens many great aspects of life, such as love, animals, and even hills because they reduce the effectiveness of the community. It is up to Jonas and The Giver to hold all of those memories in order to advise the community. For example, towards the end of the book Jonas and The Giver realize that people should carry all of these memories with them. “That’s true. And having you here with me over the past year has made me realize that things must change. For years I’ve felt that they should, but it seemed so hopeless.” This quote shows that The Giver and Jonas are trying to break free of the government’s control and reveal to everyone what they have been hiding for so long. All of this evidence further demonstrates that the government has complete control over its citizens, which is often a key detail of Dystopian novels.
The second aspect of dystopia in The Giver, by Lois Lowry is dehumanization. Everybody in Jonas’s community lives in a dehumanized state, and the government does not hesitate to “release” its citizens after they break the rules or outlive their usefulness. The government essentially uses its people to produce for the community, and they control everything they do. People can’t even pick their own jobs! In the text, Jonas began to realize that there was more to life than people experienced in the community, and that things should change. “He found that he was often angry, now: irrationally angry at his groupmates, that they were satisfied with their lives which had none of the vibrance his own was taking on.”(Page 124) This quote shows that Jonas began asking questions about the way the community runs, and he begins to realize the freedoms he didn’t know he deserved. This character development eventually led to him running away to elsewhere in order to reveal his memories to the people of the community.
The third aspect of Dystopia demonstrated in The Giver is propaganda, which is a popular theme in many dystopian books. Throughout the community, citizens are often reminded of how great the government is by speakers all through the community and even in their own homes, which is as Dystopian as it gets. The citizens all act thankful for the community feeding, employing, and keeping them healthy, but they don’t even know that the government is keeping basic freedoms away from them. At one point in the book, a woman in the house of the old told Jonas about an old man who was released because he was too old, which is totally normal. This old man was smiling the whole time during the celebration of his life, and had no idea release was just a totally unnecessary, premature death. This is a great example of the government corrupting citizen’s minds with lies to make the community more effective.
While the society demonstrated in The Giver may be more efficient, it lacks diversity, emotion, and decisions that create individuality in the world today. Lois Lowry gives subtle hints demonstrating an emotionless future far from unrealistic. Many shocking elements of the story may nod to where the world is currently, and where it is going. In conclusion, The Giver has many aspects of Dystopia in it including government control, dehumanization and even propaganda. All things considered, this robotic future may be a reality one day.
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