The Giver - That a Happy, Healthy, and Safe Community Should have Rules and Restrictions
In every town, city, or community, stability is necessary for effective functioning. People rely and depend on the concept of sameness because few people adapt readily to change and uncertainty. Society is however dynamic and successful societies support individuals through change. Throughout the Giver we see the consequences of a community unable to embrace change through the elimination of individualism creating a safe sense of sameness that poses its own problems.
The community believes the enhancing liveability means that diversity and opinions are inappropriate and dangerous. In the Giver we see that a happy, healthy, and safe community should have rules and restrictions to ensure that all people within the group are contained and controlled.
Through the use of birth mothers, the community Elders control the birth number and rate of couples to ensure the community has adequate resource protection and allocation (chpt 2). The theory of population control and resource management by the Elders ensures their control and superiority and ultimately removes each individual’s right to self-determination in order to keep the society stable. The Elders further oversee the communities thinking and programming through evaluating the children’s thoughts, feelings and dreams nightly to their parents.
Communism is at work in this community as every individual must contribute to the community’s advancement. Past the age of twelve, all citizens must contribute their labor and skills for the benefit of the community as a whole. The lack of any specific benefits and individual gains enhances stability as jealousy, competition and status is removed.
Stability is the foundation of The Giver’s community as the belief that sameness and equality will ensure peace is explored. It is different to this world we experience in reality, where our expectation for attention and uniqueness is met. The novel explores the outcomes of a lack of personal freedom and choice and the consequence that although stability is achieved, happiness, self-realization and contempt is lost.
How is Freedom Developed and Presented in the Story?
The Giver is a book about a citizen Jonas, who is fighting for change after awakening to a different way of life when assigned the role of receiver. Jonas begins to fight for the freedom to choose, to make mistakes, to feel and to love.
Drawing on the memories from the past he begins a journey within his own mind to discover the experiences of freedom, decision making and dreaming that we all take for granted now. He develops a longing for self-expression and individualism which is not supported by the Elders determined to keep power and control. His longing for more self-rule is contained by the strict rules of the community which prohibits any form of self-expression.
A touching example from the text is when Jonas receives the memory of love (chpt 16). He has an epiphany, that these people even his own parents and his fellow citizens, can’t feel true emotion. They can’t be free to express any feelings. Jonas realizes that love as an emotion is beyond them in this community and that the laws are forbidding people to be free. When Jonas is watching the release of one of the twin siblings (chpt 19), he realizes that under what he thought was order and perfection, is dark flaws, and lies. This shows him how manipulated everyone actually is.
The community members sacrifice their freedom of choice, so they can leave stable and non-eventful existences but in trading they’re free will they become robot-like. Jonas rediscovers memories, he understands that through choices and freedom, we find power and self-determination. When Jonas takes back his freedom and makes this incredible choice and shows others that the unsustainably is what makes life worth living, and that freedom gives us happiness, opinions, and individuality
So many other events in this book leads to the conclusion that the concept of freedom, is represented so strongly throughout the book. The author was definitely trying to portray how we take freedom for granted. This book is set in the future, where people chose to live in sameness. But we take freedom for granted so much. Even in other countries, freedom is out of reach for so many people. And that communism degree in the community seems a better solution for our society.
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