The Not-So Free Society The author of The Giver, Louis Lowry, imagines a society where individuality is strictly curbed and conformity is rigidly enforced. The citizens in this nameless society have been stripped of the rights to self-determination. All decisions, both personal and professional, are left to the governing council. Individuality and all its accompanying emotions, both painful and pleasurable, have been sacrificed for societal efficiency and organization. Jonas, the protagonist, has been selected for the most excruciating destiny of all. Receivers are the scapegoats of this community, carrying all the memories that make us uniquely human. This burden enables the receiver to perceive wisdom and allows the rest of the community to remain in a contented, child-like state.
The members of the community have all their needs met, bad behavior is modified, and challenge to authority is not tolerated. They feel no guilt or shame and can carry out atrocious acts without hesitation.
Their path in life is predestined since the moment of their conception. Each milestone of an individual?s development is monitored and evaluated. At the tender age of twelve, it is decided what the course of the rest of one?s life will be. But the price they pay for the well-ordered society is a steep one. All the values that modern society holds dear, such as choosing one?s own vocation, marrying whom one wishes, bearing one?s own children, and how to end one?s life, is denied to them. They cannot even observe the vibrant colors of butterflies and flowers. Their ability to imagine is merely superficial and can only go to the limits of the community?s dark walls. In truth, the society as a whole is diminished when the freedoms of individuals are taken away.
Though freedom allows a human being to become an individual and...