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In ‘The Giver’, we can see that Jonas lives in a dystopian place where his community believes that everyone should be the same. Throughout the story, we can see certain rules in the community that applies to sameness, and that at the same time restrains freedom. Some of these rules are that girls should wear their hair up until a certain age, the telling of their feelings at night and the sharing of dreams to the family, and that each family is allowed to have two children maximum, one being a female and the other being a male. After Jonas is assigned the role of The Receiver of Memory, he discovers about all the books and how the society is being controlled by the elders.
‘A room without books is like a body without a soul.’ To me, this quote means that books are like the soul of a room because the books are what give us knowledge about everything in the world. Before the Internet, all the answers to our questions were in the books. Just like our body wouldn’t be anything without a soul, a room wouldn’t be anything books.
Sometimes, when I read books and I see a meaningful and inspirational quote, I try to think deep about it. I try to relate to the quote and make a difference in my life according to the quote because I feel like I could become a better person if I start acting like the quote. For example, if the quote says something like ‘don’t give up’ I would try to think about the times when I did give up and make myself agree that if I hadn’t given up so soon, I could have achieved something that I really wanted by now, so I would try to not give up anymore and try harder. This quote is going to give me some knowledge and tell me that if I try harder, I might achieve great things in my life. That is never going to happen in the society Jonas lives in. They don’t have access to books, so how are they ever going to get that knowledge? The elders could be stopping them from achieving great things and the society is too naïve to know that that is happening.
In my opinion, a community where knowledge is held only by limited, chosen few is a bad community, and not well ruled. If the ‘ruler’ of the community doesn’t want you to know about something, it means that ‘they’ are probably doing something wrong and fear what the community would think about it. They are scared of the community’s opinions. They are afraid that if they allow the community to have access to books, they will gain more knowledge and be aware of the dystopian world that they are living in. By gaining this knowledge, the community will not agree with the way the ‘ruler’ is dealing with things, and everything would get messy and people would start to manifest for a better life.
If my access to books and to the knowledge they contain was restricted, I would feel as if I’m being controlled to live a certain way, and that my rights were taken away. I would feel like I don’t have an opinion because I wouldn’t have any knowledge of what is going on and I would feel as if I’m being told how to live. I would feel exactly like ‘a body without a soul’. And that is exactly what Jonas’ started to feel when he realized that he, and the rest of the society was being restrained from that knowledge.
In ‘The Giver’, we can clearly see aspects of censorship, control, and conformity. ‘They’ are controlling the community from obtaining more knowledge by keeping them from having no access to books. They do that for the community to not be aware that they live in a dystopian place and that there are better places to go to. Books are very important in The Giver because the community really don’t have any other way to get knowledge from. When Jonas saw the room with all those books in it he was very surprised to know that they existed since everyone in the community only had access to a few books, those being instructions and rules. Jonas then realized that there is more to know about the world they are living in. An example of control, conformity, and censorship in The Giver is when we are told that the memories saved by the Receiver are of things that no longer exist because it was not ‘practical’ since it causes transportation problems. Therefore, in the interests of ‘Sameness’ snow had to disappear. Jonas expresses his wish to have and see snow again, but the Receiver of Memory tells him that ‘that choice is not ours’. It seems that the community has taken control of this part of life and someone is making this decision on behalf of everyone else. This is a restriction and it is made to establish conformity. However, snow is a part of life and taking it away is like having ‘a body without a soul’. Another example is how the community doesn’t allow the Stirrings. The Stirrings are basically the feelings that us humans have and the one thing we cannot control. But ‘they’ made it possible for it to be controllable. A pill was created to control that. It was created to get rid of their feelings and block their emotions by taking the pill every morning. They are controlling how people should feel and making them like robots. Even though Jonas didn’t want to let go of those feelings, he still had to take the pills because he was forced to, but then felt guilty because he didn’t want to let go of them. He shouldn’t have felt that way. No one should feel guilty for having feelings, and they should especially not get rid of them. This shows how messed up that community is. In my opinion, these rules just make the community a worse place because the people are having to live their lives according to these rules, and I think they should be able to decide things for themselves.
This community doesn’t allow love. No one knows what love is in that community, except for a few ones. They haven’t experienced it either. Normally, a family is made up of love and care for each other, but in ‘The Giver’ that doesn’t exist. I don’t understand how it is possible to not love your family. I don’t understand why that community does not allow love. Loving someone is not harmful, it’s not going to kill you. It’s the opposite. You feel cared for and safe. When I think about this society where love is absent, I think of a sad place. A dead place, with no joy and happiness. It terrifies me to think about it. When Caleb, a kid living in this community died, I would think that the family would be heartbroken. But they never loved Caleb, so that death didn’t bother than as much as it should. They simply replaced Caleb with a new child, and never thought of their old child again. They continued with their lives as if nothing ever happened to Caleb. It is very depressing to think about that, and it shows how insane this community is.
The absence of love is not the most shocking thing in this society. The fact that Jonas’ father had the guts to release a newborn that was almost part of their family is outrageous. It is revealed that releasing someone is killing them, but everyone in the community thinks that release is when someone is sent Elsewhere, to a better place. The community is oblivious to the fact that release is death, and are being manipulated into thinking that release is a great chance for elders or for those who want to leave the community to go to a better place and maybe start over. The fact that Jonas watched his father kill the newborn is dreadful. He must have felt like he didn’t know who his father was anymore because he saw his true colors. If a child watched their father kill someone, I would certainly think that they would be really traumatized at what they saw. It is terrifying how this community can just kill someone like that and think it is normal.
Like Malcolm X said, ‘Human rights are something you were born with. Human rights are your God-giving rights. Human rights are the rights that are recognized by all nation of this earth’. I do think people are allowed to live as they wish. They’ve always had this right. No one can take this right away from you. People should be allowed to read and love whoever and whatever they want. No one can stop you. If you are passionate about something, no one can stop you from doing what you love. If you love someone, no one can stop you from loving that person, and if you want to read something, unless it is not disrespecting anyone, I think you are allowed to read it. If whatever you are reading is disrespectful, then I understand why someone would be offended, but I still think you should not be banned from reading it. There are two meanings for being the same: The first one is that we are all humans and equally allowed to have any rights. The second meaning is by behaving the same and looking the same way. In that case, God made us different for a reason, and we should embrace our differences. No one should be treated differently for being a certain race or for their beliefs.
I wouldn’t ever want to live in that society. Even though ‘they’ think they are doing good by applying strict rules that could possibly make it a better society, it is not right to do that. Having releases, and pills to cure stirrings, and not having any access to books is terrible. With the restriction of books and knowledge, this society is made up of ignorant people. I wouldn’t want to live in a place where love doesn’t exist. I want to be able to love my family and to have the rights I deserve. In my opinion, this is a terrible society, and no one should ever have to live in a place like that.
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