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Essay: Lois Lowry’s “The Giver”

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  • Subject area(s): Literature essays
  • Reading time: 3 minutes
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  • Published: June 17, 2021*
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  • Words: 778 (approx)
  • Number of pages: 4 (approx)
  • Lois Lowry’s “The Giver”
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Within Lois Lowry’s “The Giver”, common dystopian tropes can be found , all of which warn modern day readers about the dangers of a society in which greater powers control the lives and fate of individuals under its reign.

A common trope within Dystopian Fiction is the control of childbirth and reproduction, that of which can be seen in Lowry’s “The Giver” where there is a system put into place where a child’s development and wellbeing is put under close watch through the use of a child rearing scheme. This can be seen in the line “He and the other nurturers were responsible for all the physical and emotional needs of every new child in its early life”. This is a juxtaposition of a more ideal scenario in which the mother/birth giver of the child should be the one who cares for the “Physical and emotional needs” of the child. This is however not the case as a trope of dystopian fiction is the loss of Parent/Carer interaction/connection with their offspring. This is deliberately done to ensure that no loyalties can be formed between those under dictatorship of the greater powers and so that all efforts and feelings can be harboured and manifested towards the ‘Greater Cause’. Within Aldous Huxley’s “Brave New World”, a child rearing programme is conjured up by the greater powers. The process involves control of everybody’s life before their birth and virtually determines who they are going to become, including their gender. The Bokanovskification is deliberately introduced already in the first chapter in order to demonstrate the power of technology. Addition of diseases such as “the usual typhoid and sleeping sickness” to the hatching process shows to what extent the dystopian society and Ford’s reign have power. 1984, in contrast with Brave New World, mentions the process of birth control by “artsem” which is explained as being an undeveloped idea existing only in the minds of the Junior Anti-Sex League. However, its aims would be different to those in “Brave New World” to erase concupiscence from the society. While the Fordian society uses artificial birth control to regulate the population, Oceanian authorities play with these ideas only to further instil their doctrine. On the other hand, it is implied that members of the Party are encouraged to produce their descendants as Winston’s wife wanted to have children in order to fulfil a “duty to the party” and the Party “rather encouraged separation in cases where there were no children”.

On the contrary to most dystopian texts, there is a surprising emotional attachment between the carer and the children that were being cared for in his workplace, one of which “wasn’t doing well” and this concern that the nurturer has is unusual as regularly within Dystopian writings, we see the lack of any form of emotional attachment between individuals. The understanding tone given from the mother to “Jonas” and “Lily” in the line “I know how sad that must make you feel” shows a real sense of care and sympathy towards her children. Reason to why this is so unusual is due to the fact that the tone set in most Dystopian Fictions and Novels is cold and dreary with no real sense of community of warmth between individuals, this care is however directed towards the party who it is their sole purpose in life to obey and put all their efforts towards. A lack of emotional attachment between parents and their children can be seen in “1984” in which the Parson’s children turn in their parents with no hesitation. However, this does not spark any annoyance from the parents, they seem to be happy and proud of their children of the action they just committed. This also shows how the individuals under the power of a somewhat totalitarian leader put their party before anything, that of which includes their parents. Brave New World takes the notion of parenthood to extremes as it is depicted to be one of the taboos, connected merely with “those days of gross viviparous reproduction” when “children were always brought up by their parents and not in State Conditioning Centres.”

Altogether, “The Giver” by Lois Lowry is a sign of the fears that can be faced if people are blinded by a totalitarian regime and do not seek to go against a society in which there is upmost control of it’s civilians.

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