The Power of Knowledge in the Giver

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In The Giver, the author Lois Lowry illustrates that the most powerful way for a government to control or manipulate its people is by censoring their knowledge which eliminates their ability to question ideas or make their own choices surrounding the information is hidden from them.

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Restricting information takes away the power for people to make choices surrounding the knowledge that is taken away from them. After the Giver showed Jonas memories of colors, Jonas realizes, “‘But now that I can see colors, at least sometimes, I was just thinking: what if we could hold up things that were bright red, or bright yellow, and he could choose?’” (123-124). Jonas was marveled at the fact that since he knew what colors were, and could see them, he had a new ability to make choices about certain things based on its color. Since the people in society did not have knowledge of many things, as a result of the government censoring it, these aspects can’t be considered when a choice has to be made. Therefore, having censored ideas that come with important choices or actions, the government can make decisions for the people. Additionally, censoring information also takes away the ability for people to question ideas or the way things happen because people don’t know anything about what is being concealed from them.

At Jonas’ first session with the Giver, who holds memories that are restricted from ordinary community members, he becomes very curious about the past after he was shown a memory of a sled and snow for the first time.These memories no longer exist in their community so Jonas questions, “‘Why don’t we have snow, and sleds, and hills?’ he asked. ‘And when did we, in the past? Did my parents have sleds when they were young? Did you?’” (105). After experiencing all this, Jonas starts to question the things surrounding the idea of sleds and snow. Without having access to these memories, Jonas wouldn’t have been able to question the past because he knew nothing about it. The people in Jonas’ society have no ability to question about the information that is hidden from them because it is not within their own mental capacity. With control over what society knows and doesn’t know, the government can easily have a strong grip over its citizens, able to them what to do, and because they can’t question anything about it they are obedient.

Governments can control its people by censoring information from them which takes away their ability to question things or make choices because knowledge of certain ideas are being hidden from them.  

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The Power of Knowledge in the Giver. (2021, Mar 22). Retrieved January 27, 2023 , from

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