Visions of Dystopia in The Giver and “The Lottery”

asked 2018-02-03 17:37:36 -0600

PhilipRadk gravatar image

Lois Lowry’s The Giver is only one in a huge series of classic “dystopian” literature. (Think “utopia,” then think Third Reich.) What makes it stand out from novels like 1984 or Brave New World – aside from the iconic grizzled-old-man cover – is that you might have memories of reading it already in the fourth or fifth grade; in this sense, you could put The Giver in the same category as Shirley Jackson’s “The Lottery,” a deceptively uncomplicated dystopian short story that many of us read in junior high school.

pantai air manisAside from the fact that this has probably done some serious damage to your formative years, the real shame here is that these stories are often considered so “easy” to read that they don’t merit revisiting in high school or college – you know, when you might actually understand them. To put these wrongs to right, let’s compare both stories for some literary I’ll-show-you-mine-if-you-show-me-yours.

The world of The Giver centers on a strictly controlled society known as The Community. Its members live in a sort of self-imposed stasis, meaning that their population, behavior, speech, activities, and emotions are all regulated by a select group of elites known as The Elders. Just to be safe, though, humanity’s collective memories – which include pre-reform experiences of things like love, lust, hate, fear, fun, pleasure, envy… hell, even color – are all stockpiled into one guy known as “The Receiver of Memory,” who keeps everyone from having to make choices that could be dangerous.

Let’s hope he never falls down the stairs or anything. On a more cryptic note, The Community keeps healthy by “releasing” all its sick children, old geezers, and misfits to the land known as “Elsewhere.” Remember when Mom told you that Socks went to a ranch where she could frolic in a field as big as the sky? Well the difference here is that when Mom said it, she wasn’t the one doing the killing.

On the plus Keindahan Pantai Air Manis Padang side, living in The Community takes all the hassle out of job hunting, since everyone’s lot in life is... well, just that: each person is allotted a certain occupation at age eleven without question or complaint. That is, until young Jonas is selected to replace the ridiculously old man currently serving as The Receiver of Memory (who’s scheduled to make a little “day hike to Elsewhere” of his own); things run afoul when the transfer of the old man’s memories enables Jonas to feel things like love, pain, fear, and “holy crap!

– where are you sending my sick adoptive kid brother?!” Having learned that “releasing” entails nothing more than a lethal injection and a short drop into a trash chute, Jonas decides to run away with little baby Gabriel, leaving the safety of The Community to experience the freedom of independence, self-direction, nature, and, oh yeah, starvation.

edit retag flag offensive close delete