Imagine a place where there is colorlessness, no choice; a place where there is only uniformity and dullness. The author has created such an obscure place in the The Giver. We do not know the exact location or time period, however since it is fiction we usually think of it as being set some time in the future where everyone accommodates to the rules. The residents have no connection with their ancestors or any memories at all. There are only two people who have access to this; one is the Giver and the other is the Receiver of Memory. These are the main characters in the story. The Giver is an old man that gives his memories to the Receiver, Jonas, a twelve year old boy. When Jonas receives memories, he learns about negative things like war, hate, and pain. He also gains memories of good things like colors, love, and joy. In the novel, the author portrays many benefits and drawbacks of living in the society of The Giver. Some of the many benefits includes, everyone is treated the same, there are many career opportunities available and everyone is safe. The drawbacks are that the community “releases” people who do not fit in, there is no love, and people have no choice.
The pros of sameness, and the purpose behind this philosophy, would be getting rid of the negative components in the world. To start off, we can look at physical similarities. Every citizen in the community has the perspective that everyone has the same skin color, eye color, and hair color. Realistically, this idea of “sameness” would eliminate racism and many other unfair advantages that people may have. Ultimately, the aspect of “sameness” can be beneficial to the community in various different ways.
Also, another pro of living in the community would be that everyone has an equal chance at a career. Each individual receives the same amount of education, employment, and has an equal chance at a career that they would like to pursue. No one even has to think about what career they would like to pick because it is already chosen for them. A committee of elders carefully observes each child close to turning twelve and assigns them a job.
The final benefit is that everyone is safe. No member of the community every has to worry about doing without or providing for their family. Everyone has food, shelter, and medical care. At one point in the novel, Jonas is punished for saying that he is starving. His community stresses the carefulness of language choice. Although he may have been hungry at the moment, he is reminded that he is not and nor will he ever be starving as long as he lives there.
The first drawback of living in The Giver community is that the community “releases” people who do not fit in. An example is that a newborn is born a twin. Because two indistinguishable people would be too “confusing” for everyone, they killed one of them and claimed to “release” the newborn. The community also releases anyone who breaks three rules. The committee tries to hide that being releases also means that the person is killed.
Another drawback is that there is no love. Parents only have mild affection for their children and do not truly love their kids. They are paired by the committee and there is no closeness or real concept of family. When Jonas receives memories of love, he wants to obtain it for himself. He later asks his parents if they love him, and they say that they enjoy being around him but scold him for his improper language.
The final drawback is that people have no choice over many things. Choice is what makes life worth living. Yes, choice can cause pain and suffering, but it can also cause great joy as well. A world without choice can be very boring and dull. In the community, your job, spouse, children, and death date is chosen for you.