The easy to see how characters in the

The
Giver by Lois Lowry takes place in a conformist society
that has only one culture, and nothing is different. The definition of a utopia
by the Oxford dictionary is an imagined place or state of things in
which everything is perfect. This is how the citizens of Jonas’ community view
their surroundings. It would be an amazing way to live life had it not been
boring and monotonous. There is no discrimination for there is no colour or culture. No two people have
conflicting viewpoints; everyone looks and acts similarly which, from the point
of view of the Elders, makes their community peaceful and perfect. An outsider
who has lived a life filled with individuality and uniqueness could easily see
that this way of life is not ideal and rather can be described as a dystopia,
which by the Oxford dictionary is defined
as an imagined place or state in which everything is unpleasant or bad,
typically a totalitarian or environmentally degraded one.

The
Giver is the type of literature that “uses the protagonist’s
perspective to show the readers the negative aspects of the world where the
protagonist lives in” (Setyorini and Idris 1). It is easy to see how characters
in the novel are oppressed and not given any freedom or allowed to make any
decisions for themselves. The committee of Elders makes all the decisions for all
the citizens and they are all brainwashed into believing their community is a
utopia rather than a dystopia. That is, everyone other than Jonas and The Giver
after they received all the memories of the past. The decisions made for the
citizens are made aware in many scenes throughout the novel, most prominently
is when Jonas’ sister says, “And this year you’ll get your Assignment,” (Lowry
39). Jonas, along with the rest of the children receiving their job assignments,
does not have the freedom to choose which career path he would like to take for
the rest of his life or even to try out different things to find out where his
interests lie. If he receives a job that he does not like the most he will be
able to do is put in an appeal that may
or may not be addressed (Lowry 39).

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In addition to not being able to
choose their own jobs, the adults in Jonas’ community are assigned spouses and children. Only ‘married’ couples
can have children and a family unit can only have two children, one boy, and one girl. The
idea of perfection is present throughout the novel. In many literary works, a
perfect family is described as a Mother, Father, Son, and Daughter. Therefore,
to maintain that illusion of ‘perfect’ the elders enforced a rule. “Two
children – one male, one female – assigned to each family unit. It was
written very clearly in the rules.” (Lowry 8). Every year at the same time in
December, all new Twelves are given their job assignments and the newchildren
become Ones and take place in a naming ceremony where they “receive their names
and families” (Lowry 39). The fact that aspiring parents get their children
chosen for them means that they must not give birth to their own children.

At the December ceremony, certain
women are assigned the job of Birthmother where they give birth to three
children over the span of three years and “after that they are Laborers for the rest of their lives, until the day
they enter the House of the Old” (Lowry 21). Being a Birthmother is an
important job, but lacking in prestige. It is not a sought-after job and the
reasons for that are quite clear. Firstly, right after giving birth the child
is taken away from them to be given a number and be cared for by the Nurturers
until their naming ceremony where he or she will receive their name and be
assigned to a family as previously stated. The Birthmother will never knowingly
meet her child or know which family it was assigned to. After her three years are
over she will be forced to perform hard labour
that no one else wants to do.

“Constant surveillance, oppressive
ruling regimes, lack of freedom, and forced conformity are all aspects of
adolescent life that teenagers deal with on a daily basis. While parental supervision
and peer pressure may not be the end of the world, many young adults feel as if
they are trapped and need to search for a way out or a way to change their
current situation” (Ryan 2). These are the exact things that exemplify young adult
dystopian literature. Forced conformity plays
a large role in The Giver, and is identified
as Sameness. The Elders have an understanding that because of Sameness everyone
has the same things which means no one wants what someone else has, therefore, eliminating
emotions such as jealousy and hatred and their consequences. However, with Sameness
comes the loss of identity, individuality, and uniqueness.