The Giver

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The utopian society described in Lois Lowry's The Giver is very similar to the form of government described in the Republic by Plato, especially The Allegory of the Cave. Both are descriptions of totalitarian dystopic governments included the separation of people by professional class, assignment of profession and purpose by the state, and the absence of traditional family units, replaced by state-organized breeding. If Jonas, the leader, is the man released from the cave, then his obligations as a leader and his obligations to knowledge are the same. The only morally justified decision is to leave the Community.

Jonas lives in a "perfect" world. The Community has eradicated war, disease, and suffering. Everything is in order; everything is under control. The people have no worries or cares. The Community strives for "sameness," in which everyone and everything are the same and equal. Each member is assigned a position in society to help the Community function as a cohesive unit. When Jonas turns twelve, the Community selects him to be the new "Receiver of Memories." Only the "Giver" knows the truth and memories of the past, and now he must pass these memories on to Jonas. Lowry subtly creates an uneasy feeling that something is wrong with this "perfect world." The Community's advisors intend to establish security within utopian society, but they really establish a stifling dystopia. To protect people from the risks of making poor or wrong decisions in life, the advisors plan and dictate the lives of the people. In effect, the citizens have no freedom of choice; they do not choose their job or even their spouse. Moreover, the advisors inhibit the people's ability to feel because they want to spare them from the hardships and pain of life. For instance, individuals must take a pill everyday, which suppresses passionate feelings. The citizens do not know or experience true emotions like love. One of the goals of the Community is to achieve "sameness" so...
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