In Lois Lowry's dystopian novel "The Giver," Stirrings are a pivotal aspect of society's complex rules and practices. The story unfolds in a seemingly utopian society where emotions, memories, and even choices have been meticulously regulated to maintain stability and eliminate conflict. Stirrings, in this context, refer to the awakening of sexual desires and emotions that naturally emerge during adolescence.
As children mature, they begin to experience these Stirrings—intense feelings of attraction and desire toward others. However, in this society, which values order and predictability above all else, Stirrings are seen as a potential source of chaos and disruption. To suppress these emotions, citizens are required to take daily injections that inhibit the development of sexual desires and prevent the associated emotional responses.
The suppression of Stirrings is an essential aspect of society's control mechanisms. By eliminating the potential for emotional complications stemming from romantic and sexual relationships, society aims to maintain uniformity and eliminate the potential for conflict. This suppression also contributes to society's concept of "Sameness," where everyone is expected to conform to certain behaviors, appearances, and emotional states.
The concept of Stirrings is significant in "The Giver" for several reasons. Firstly, it underscores the price that society pays for the illusion of stability and security. While the suppression of emotions like Stirrings might seem efficient in reducing conflict, it also strips away essential components of human experience, such as love, passion, and genuine relationships.
Secondly, the suppression of Stirrings highlights the loss of individuality and personal agency in society. By controlling emotions and desires, the citizens are denied the ability to make genuine choices and decisions based on their feelings. This lack of emotional freedom contributes to the sterile and controlled nature of their lives.
Furthermore, Stirrings play a role in Jonas's journey, the protagonist of the story. When he is selected to become the new Receiver of Memory, he starts to experience emotions and sensations that were previously unknown to him due to his training. This includes experiencing the Stirrings, which lead him to question society's rules and question the nature of the world he lives in.
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