I d e a l L i v i n g What do you feel your purpose in the world is? Now imagine not being able to even have the option to think or decide that question. Is the world you live in considered to be an ideal place to live? In her short narrative author Lois Lowry encaptures an “ideal society” in her thrilling novel The Giver which illustrates a civilization free of illness, death, or crime but in reality is a population of un-individualized individuals that are oppressed by its communities elder leaders. Lowry portrays to us in her own descriptive way of storytelling what life is like living in a false utopian world through Jonas’ experiences growing up as a young boy, and having been born into a society that is structured, developed, and manipulated by those of power within the community. People living within this society live carefree lives free of emotions such as; jealousy, hatred, or even feelings of affection. Everything is perfectly planned and designed so that the community will run efficiently. As described this community does not have problems such as crime, murder, or illness that could be detrimental to a growing population. This society is governed by equally appointed elders of the community which provides the basic necessities, needs, and care of every individual living within the community. This ideal lifestyle described in the story is not an ideal society because each individual living in this community has to sacrifice their individuality in order conform to sameness, live without vital feelings, newborn children are born into a predetermined lifestyle, and individuals are forced to work one job that is chosen for them for the rest of their lives. To open up with, contrary to this generally utopian oriented community described in Lois Lowry’s The Giver is a popular fictional series by American novelist Susan Collins called The Hunger Games which captivates an unjust dystopian society in a country called Panem governed by a body of government that holds a lottery within its small numbered population that sponsors an event for those chosen which entails a fight to their death representing their communities district. Unlike the perfect lifestyle portrayed in the Giver, individuals living in districts of the Hunger Games live lives of poverty, starvation, and crime. The cruel actions taken by this people’s own government are described in this excerpt from Susan’s novel, “Taking the kids from our districts, forcing them to kill one another while we watch – this is the Capitol’s way of reminding us how totally we are at their mercy. How little chance we would stand of surviving another rebellion.” (Collins). Those deemed unlucky enough to have been one of the selected few to have their names called will have to engage in a warfare of children and teens from all districts of their country and fight to survive. In common these stories each are ruled by corrupt overpowered governments that control the lives of those who are oppressed living conformed lifestyles. Each of these societies are perfect examples of what a dystopian world would be like if they were controlled by a policing government such as those described in The Giver and The Hunger Games. Importantly, in order to operate efficiently society must be regulated, considering the person’s general worth and their relative impact within the community. In the Giver everyday life is administered and supervised by its all seeing government. This seemingly perfect civilization may bring safety and peace to their utopian world, but it takes away the basic freedoms, liberties, intelligence, and simple joys of life from people. The society represented in The Giver can be called utopian which in other words means that it is highly desirable and containing nearly perfect qualities, but as you further continue to read on through the story you get to see how it gradually becomes more and more undesirable and dystopian in its ideology. The lives of those living in this community are predetermined and selected by the leaders of the community. Everyone is given a job based off of certain qualities they hold that which makes them suitable for that line of work, this is not only unfair but it restricts individuality because the choice of what you want to be in life is no longer up to you, but left for a selected few to choose for you. As described in Lowrys excerpt from the story, the lives of individuals have no importance other than serving their duty chosen for them. “After Twelve, age isn’t important. Most of us even lose track of how old we are as time passes, though information is in the Hall of Open Records.” (Lowry17). The sole purpose of an individual in this society is to work, age has become obsolete and unnecessary in this civilization to the point where people tend to forget their age since after the age of twelve their life holds no importance other than serving their duty. “What’s important is the preparation for adult life, and the training you’ll receive in your Assignment.” (Lowry17). At the young age of twelve years old a boy is considered a man and he is given an assignment based off of his personality at the ceremony of Twelves, where young individuals are called upon to receive their lifelong job assignments. In addition this society can be seen as an unideal society, because everyone in this world has a fostered family. Family is vitally important because they provide support emotionally, psychologically, and physically influencing who you are as a person. Relationships within one’s family are like no other, because they are who they can truly be themselves around without the harsh judgement of reality outside. In the world of The Giver nobody everybody is assigned a family in which they are not related to. To conclude, Jonas’ community chooses Sameness rather than valuing individual expression and general dissimilarities that could potentially differentiate one another. Differences, personal variation, and even color have been eliminated from this perfectly controlled world have become obsolete and unnecessary in efforts of creating a world of equal opportunity for each person living within the community. Although a world of sameness and equal opportunity sounds like something our world definaley needs, in Jonas’ community things that differentiate you from the rest of the majority is seen as wrong. With the rejection of uniqueness, the community that Jonas calls his home could in no way be considered a Utopian world where everything is perfect in every instance rather than in its actual reality, being a civilized nation bound beneath the social ideologies and perfection of the town’s elders. Individuals living within this community have been restricted in their ways of living in having to conform to lifestyle that is pre-decided by the appointed ‘wise’ of the community, live a repetitive lifestyle without certain vital emotions, and these people have to work the same job shesfor the rest of their lives without the comfort of a family that is actually related to them. The elimination of natural difference within the world extinguishes the notion that we can each individually be creative and live lifestyles we choose rather than live according to a set of rules provided in order to keep everyone in line and the same. The importance of personal choice and decision becomes evident as author Lois Lowry unfolds to us the through the life of Jonas in a world of complete ‘sameness’ the disadvantages of having a perfect world. We are not perfect, nor should the way our lives we live should be. We are not meant to have a predetermined lifestyle and work only one occupation that is chosen for you until you are dead, people are meant for far greater opportunities to further innovate our world and keep us moving forward. With the received memories from the Giver, Jonas’s is able to understand the significance of sameness in his community and realizes a change is needed and he has to be the one to be the leader of this so called rebellion again his own unjust government and restore humanity to the way it was long before the society had turned to sameness.