by: Uel Ceballos
Can you imagine a place where there’s no real pain, no hunger, no chaos, no war – yes, a place with nothing of the scariest things in human life? None of the ugliest and heartbreaking things but no colours as well, no sunshine, no emotions, and no concept of LOVE. Can you imagine a place like that? Of course not, but Lois Lowry did.
The Giver is a children’s novel written by Lois Lowry with seemingly utopia contextual at the beginning but appearing otherwise as the story proceeds. Quite easy to comprehend with uncomplicated sequences despite the series of flashbacks in the story, The Giver is a powerful soft science fiction that challenges the reader’s imagination. The novel’s descriptiveness is sharp and crisp that you would almost see the place and the characters in your mind’s eyes in its colourless state as the writer depicts it – gloomy, pallid, but peaceful and trouble-free.
From appearing like the ideal kind of community and eventually turning to be a dystopian, Lois Lowry has commendably built the safety reassurances within the community that she has presented in the book, only to deconstruct it with the series of revelations that Jonas (the lead character) will be experiencing along his training.
In this community of Sameness, everything is in its proper order and balances in able to protect the people from its community’s terrible past. All things are controlled and well monitored but not for the sake of only few people’s but for the full benefits of all in the community. From population to education, food distribution, career, marrying, and starting a family, all are taken cared in systematic process. However, with all the orderliness and pain-free characteristics of their community, there is one person who doesn’t agree with the current system, not because he finds it not beneficial, but rather because he knows that with all these sameness or manipulated balances, it all results to the lack of other far more significant things. This person is The Receiver of Memories who knows the memories of their community decades ago, back and back and back. Now he’s going to turn over the task to Jonas, a twelve years old lad who’s starting to take on his responsibility like all the other kids of his age with their respective tasking. Some of Jonas co-twelve is being trained to be a scientist, doctor, nurse of olds, birthmother, assistance director of recreation and other else. But Jonas, he is given with the most honoured job, of which handled by the current Receiver for quite a long time now because there’s no one fitted to be trained until Jonas came.
With Jonas training comes various revelations and events, of which Jonas must handle with courage and enough strength. The Giver is delivered in such a manner that it would make you marvel on that fictional world that exists within the primary or real world. Lois Lowry is such a genius to instil on the readers the pros and cons of both the ideas of utopia and dystopia, without getting blatant and manipulative over the inculcation of the both concepts.
However, not as conspicuous as it may be but the book is still eloquent enough for readers to grasp the idea that the novel is trying to bring into them. "The Giver" is trying to achieve certain influential effect towards what idea and for whatever purpose, only the writer knows. But that is solely left and depended on the way the reader would percept and interpret the novel. For certain the novel, as the revelation of memories brings Jonas to a life-changing decision, is also aiming the same for its readers.