Thursday, February 05, 2015

The Giver So Far...

"Twenty," he heard her voice say clearly. "Pierre." She skipped me, Jonas thought, stunned. (...) Jonas bowed his head and searched through his mind. What had he done wrong? (57-58)
The community decides everything. No choices can be made by the citizens. Not one. But what will Jonas learn when he is selected to be the next Receiver? What will the Giver teach him?

        In Humanities, my class has recently started reading the Giver, written By Lois Lowry. Up until now, I have read til chapter 16, though I will be analysing the chapters one through ten. I already knew a lot about the community before reading past chapter ten, as the author has meticulously described the way this dystopian society lives. Throughout the first few chapters, I've learned many things form the way the characters live in that world, and it is incredible.

Opening the book and reading the first chapter showed me that everything in this book is different. Different to our society. Our world. Our way of being. The style of government that the characters of the Giver live in is to me very extreme communism. There is a Committee of Elders who decide upon rules and ways of living in their community. Within that committee there are a variety of jobs such as the Receiver and the Chief Elder. The Chief Elder makes all final decisions and presents those to the community. The Receiver –the job that Jonas receives– is also a very important job as that specific person has knowledge from the past that helps make decisions for the future. The community, as far as I have read, does not get a say in how things happen unless they are on the Committee of Elders. I'm inferring that through generations citizens have come to obey the committee more and more. This made them respectful as well to who they 'follow' but also to their friends, family, or other people in their community. Summing it up, this community follows their leaders, and doesn't disobey whoever is controlling their lifestyle. The heads of the society have a big influence on how the citizens are. 

Reading about this community, my views and opinions have been rocking back and forth. The difference in the way Jonas' society lives compared to ours is huge. After reflecting, I've decided that for the most part I think this is a good community, as there are many positive aspects to their way of living. First of all, everything is the same. People dress the same way, they act and say the same things, they live in the same houses, etc. This makes the community very organized, and also ensures no problems between the way that people are. For example, in their community, everyone wears the standard outfit depending on what group you are in. Nine's have to wear hair ribbons, and elderly people have to wear tunics. Families live in the same 'dwelling', or home, and things such as how their house is furnished is decided by the committee of Elders and is all the same for everyone.(74) On page 22, the speaker that reminds people to follow the rules announces that "Hair ribbons are to be neatly tied at all times." This quote is directed to Lily, Jonas' sister, whom's hair ribbon wasn't tied neatly. Presenting yourself in the standard way is a rule, as they don't want to make anyone feel special or out of place. In our world, this happens very differently. For instance, people might be bullied about the clothing they wear or their hobbies. Also, people decide by themselves how they want to furnish their house. If they want a black bed and a white closet, then they buy it at the store and it's not a problem. Since Jonas, his family, and his community all live in Sameness, this never happens. 
Additionally, the community has many rules to keep citizens in line. If a rule is broken in this society, there are special punishments that follow to make sure that the citizens doesn’t make the same mistake twice. Or, if the deed was to bad, the consequence is to be released. In reality, this is death, but the community doesn't know this. On the first and second page, Jonas says that he is scared when a pilot flies a jet over the community. It is a rule that pilots are not allowed to fly over the community, and as this put many citizens in danger, "the pilot was released."(2) Furthermore, the society also has something known as a discipline wand, which is used on the old and the young. If they make a small mistake such as saying the wrong things, they will be hit with discipline wand to make sure their precision of language is good for next time. Looking at it from the Elder’s perspective, it is quite useful, as they want to maintain an as-much-as-possible perfect society. Punishing citizens for wrong actions or small mistakes will teach them lessons for next time. Ensuring that everyone knows the rules makes life in their community easier and flow better, instead of everyone thinking independently. Finally, in this community, all the citizens are assigned an Assignment, or a job. This makes sure that everybody helps the society in some way. Every December, there are two days of ceremonies where all the groups advance one number. That means that Elevens turn into Twelves, and at that stage, they receive their Assignments. (52) Strangely, students aren't allowed to decide their own life-long tasks. Though this is a good thing, because the Elders painstakingly pick the perfect task for each child, making them happy to be able to fulfil their job. Also, this also ensures that the working centers aren't overly crowded as the Elders try to chose a different job for each student. To add on, there is no currency in their community. Things such as food and water is delivered to their houses and not payed for. Now, when citizens are assigned their Assignment, they don't have to worry if their job is good enough to keep a family alive. This also guarantees no poverty in their community, and keeps the level of equality fairly high.
To conclude, this community is good in the aspects of being the same, having rules that people should obey, and assigning jobs to citizens in the community. Every single citizens knows and follows the community rules. 
Except for the Giver. And the new Receiver.

1 comment:

  1. Rosanne,
    Awesome job! One thing that I just would like to point out how apparent your voice is throughout the writing; I could almost hear you reading it! It is clear that you thought through your blog post multiple times before posting. Moreover, you had very clear ideas and opinions, albeit I would like to politely disagree with you. The ideas do make the Community's government seem exemplary, although you yourself did mention that nobody in the Community has a say. This puts down any form of self expression or even pleasing one's wants of needs. In our world, people stand out and become apparent due to self expressions, but in Jonas' world, people are shunned and put down for asserting themselves from the "crowd." In my opinion, this is not preferable at all. Even though it does keep the Community in order, it has more bad sides to it. Everyone deserves the right of voice and the ability to demonstrate ideas.
    All in all, you had amazing ideas and they widened my perspective on The Giver by Lois Lowry.