Everyone dreams of an ideal world. A world without wars, clashes, difficulties and harms. The society of ‘The Giver’ may be quite close to the ideal world you dreamed of. Actually, I’ve read ‘The Giver’ when I was young, and I’ve read it many times. ‘The Giver’ is one of my favorite books. After I read ‘Brave New World’ last month, I wanted to read another dystopia novel. But this time, dystopia novel with quite different mood. I realized there was ‘The Giver’ while searching for another novel, and I decided to read it in English this time.’The Giver’ was a dystopia novel, flavored with more fantasy-like elements. Unlike ‘Brave New World’ which showed the suppressed and controlled society, the society of ‘The Giver’ was very peaceful and stabilized. It aimed the peace and stability, and it was literally ‘ideal’.
For the stabilized and peaceful society, they don’t have too much emotions to each other. They act with prudence on their every actions and words, and always apologies on every small mistakes they made. They respects each other and are also very straight with their expressions – except the expressions which will harm others feelings. For the moderation of expressions, the society got rid of the colors and the feeling,’Love’. Every members of a family, mother, father, son and a daughter, are chosen and organized by the Committee of Elders. None of them are banded with ‘Love’. If an adult applies for a spouse, the Committee selects the best spouse for them to make those each couples have balance and make the family stabilized. After they get married and few years later, they can apply for children. Each families can have one son and a one daughter. After they prove the suitability to raise a child, the Committee finds a proper child for them. The family can take the baby, and raise them as the member of their family, of course without ‘Love’, only some sense of duty and attachment.
In ‘The Giver’, the number of the kids born each years are limited to 60. There are no twins, and they are all very healthy, without any disabled ones. If there are twins or babies who are not healthy enough, they get the ‘Morning’s Release’. ‘Morning’s release is usually held to the older peoples who lived enough, as a ceremony of ‘good bye’ and the respects for the life they had for previous several decades, but they can also carried out to the younger peoples who did a big mistake on their actions or the babies who are not suitable for the society. In the society, every year until they are 12 is very important. The things given to each ages under 12 are all different. For example, ages under 6 gets clothes which has buttons on their back to make them help each other to wear their clothes so they can learn cooperation, and 8 years old gets clothes with pockets as the meaning of the self-control and independence. With those given stuffs and enough educations from the school, they can learn the society and learn how the community works. When they become 12, they get their ‘jobs’. The Committee observes the characteristics and the specialties of every kids for sever years, and decide the job for them which will perfectly suit. Most of their decisions are perfect with the kids’ interests, and the people can satisfy with their life.
There are many jobs in the society like announcers, repair man, teachers, and pilot. Among those various jobs, there is a special positions called the ‘Receiver of Memory’. The peoples of the society doesn’t have any memories about the past. Most of the memories of the past are the ones about the world which we are living now, but the peoples of ‘The Giver’ doesn’t want to have those old memories. The role of ‘Receiver of Memory’ is to take over all and every memories of the past from the previous Receiver and to keep them. Almost every things of the village are decided by the Committee but sometimes the Committee has to know the past to get the best idea for the village. When they have a problem or need some ideas, they ask help to the Receiver. The memories of the past helps them notice the best way for the society and help them draw the best plan for the future. Not only that, only one Receiver stays in the village, having all of the memories which had been passed by the Receivers so far. Thanks to that, Receiver is very important to the society.
The main character -Jonas- becomes to be named as the next Receiver of Memory. He sometimes had some strange experiences like seeing the objects differently in short moments, and they said that was kind of the special qualifications to be the next Receiver. Receiver starts passing the whole memories to Jonas one by one, so Jonas could experience all of those memories and learn them. The Receiver showed the funny, happy memories like the snow of birthdays at first. Jonas enjoyed those memories and he was excited to get the next memories. However as time passed, he also started to get unpleasant, painful and terrible memories like the war, pain, and sicknesses. He got depressed and had difficulties on his minds. Though he had hard times getting those all memories, he couldn’t get any medical cares for his difficulties because he was the next Receiver. He just had to endure those feelings and experience all and every memories. With those hard experiences, Receiver can get every memories of the past and get enough knowledge by knowing the past. Also because Receiver has enough knowledge, he becomes suitable to give wise advises to the Committee for the village.
All of those ideas and features were all interesting. However, as I said, the peoples of the village don’t have any memories of the past. They don’t want any pains and other complicated thoughts like the Receivers had by knowing the past, so they refuses to know the past. I felt that the fact the peoples of the village doesn’t want the memories of the past is inconsistent. They want peace and stabilized society, and emphasizes the community and respect each others. They are very wise, and they lives the ideal, reasonable life, but they don’t want any mental hardness. They say they want peace and don’t like confusions, so they tries not to harm each other, and got rid of some things which will bring characteristics and differences to the village. There is no colors, weather, too much emotions and ‘love’. Although they say those actions are for the peace and stabilization, they are just avoiding the difficulties and fear. Only because of fear and anxiety, they got rid of the diversity of the feature of life and become complacency. When I felt the duplicity of the village which I felt very ideal, with the features of considerations and respects to others and satisfactions on their lives, I was quite a lot confused. I was disappointed to the peoples and also felt some kind of sense of betrayal to the peoples of ‘The Giver’.
Expectably, ‘The Giver’ was also very interesting. ‘Brave new world’ which I read previously was a novel which frankly showed the naked fact of miserable catastrophe of controlled, oppressed society. Different from the ‘Brave New World’, ‘The Giver’ showed the peaceful, harmless society. It will be literally the ideal society to many of the peoples, which almost felt like a atmosphere of children’s stories to me. The life and the feature of the village was also very interesting and ideal, but it was also quite inconsistent. It had an ulterior feature unlike the peaceful wise and intelligent peoples of the village. By reading this again, I had to think of the features of peoples again, about the duplicity of peoples wanting ‘peace’, antinomically. I love this book, though I feel hard reading the contradictory parts of the wise peoples. I do dream of a ideal world, but as I said last time after reading the ‘Brave New World’, I want pain, difficulties, and hardness on my life for the diversity of my own unpredictable way.