Dystopia and Utopia in the Giver

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The Idea of Utopia and Dystopia in The Giver
The word “utopia” has come to define our ideal of a perfect society in terms of law, government, and social and living conditions. The idea behind a utopian society is that everyone works together for common good of the society and the laws and government are meant to protect the people within the community from the evils of the human race. In many ways, these societies take on a communist belief that order is the way to achieve this perfect society. In Lois Lowry’s novel, The Giver, Lowry discusses the idea of utopia, but in a way that has become very controversial. He presents Jonas’s society in a way that challenges this idea. While Jonas’s world is safe and free from pain and conflict, it is also a world without emotion, diversity, and the freedom to choose. In this way, Lowry presents the idea of utopia as a fallacy and Jonas’s world is more a dystopia that a utopia.

When we as readers are first introduced to the world in which Jonas lives, it appears to be ideal. There is no poverty, hunger, or discrimination. Everyone has a successful job, and everyone works toward the common good of the society. There is also no fear and no pain. Everything is controlled by the government, and anyone that tries to “harm” the society is “released”. All of the members of the community have given up their collective memories so they have no memories of anything bad. The society pushed the issue of “sameness” so that there was no competition and everyone was on an equal playing field.
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