15 January 2009

Danger in Choice- The Giver by Lois Lowry

Imagine yourself in a world were you need make no choices; a world where everything is decided for you. You have no worries, nothing to hide, you have no choice but to follow the rules and everyone takes care of each other. This is Jonas's world. A utopia, you may think? Absolutely not. In The Giver by Lois Lowery, Jonas is about to enter his twelfth year and receive his assignment, as everyone does as a Twelve. After a dramatic ceremony, he becomes the Receiver of his community. He trains with The Giver, receiving memories of how emotions and life was in the past when people had the power to choose. He discovers elements like colors, snow, and other every day things for us that we rarely even think twice about. Jonas thought being able to live with love was a dangerous way to live, and he was right. But he also knew it was the right way to live. Jonas most certainly made the accurate choice by bravely leaving his community and traveling to Elsewhere. Jonas's world is not a utopia, by leaving he stood for what was difficult, but right, and he also took in the affirmative and negative effects of love.
Although not having to have the burden of making choices all the time may seem like a marvelous way to live, it isn't exactly what it seems. If we have no trial, we really do not have happiness either. On the back of The Giver, the synopsis states, "Jonas's world is perfect. Everything is under control. There is no war or fear or pain. There are no choices." Sure, this world sounds perfect, as a utopia. No choices, to war, fear or pain. But with no war, fear and pain, there isn't exactly any peace, comfort or euphoria either. Without having both love and hate, we do not know the difference between the two. Therefore, we don't have love, which means we have no feelings. Is this what is considered a utopia; utterly no feelings or emotions at all?
Enduring the pain and love was difficult for Jonas, but this isn't the dilemma. The real predicament is that leaving is what was right. Everyone in the community is given an assignment of the town leader's choosing. They are asked to fulfill their duty to the very best of their ability. When Jonas was given the assignment of The Receiver, he was given a set of rules. Jonas was allowed to ask questions, and was asked to serve his community. After being given all of the memories of emotions, and then experiencing the procedure of release, it struck him that the way they were living was not the way to live. Jonas needed to travel to Elsewhere because it was part of his duty as being The Receiver. Love is a very dangerous thing to have in our lives, but danger is the risk we take to have it. How precious it is to those who have it because it is so dangerous and rare to find true love. Sometimes we may think we love someone, but it isn't true love. Sometimes we score and sometimes we miss. Being randomly paired up, as in The Giver, seems like a great solution because we need not go through all that pain just to find love. But without the hit-and-miss, there is no adventure. Without rejection, there is no adrenaline. If you don't know what you do not love, because you haven't gone on the journey, then how will you ever know what you really do love?
Jonas definitely made the correct choice by leaving his community and traveling to Elsewhere seeking people living with love and agency. While Jonas's world seems like a utopia, having no choices or true emotions is not the way to live. Jonas showed bravery by going out of his comfort zone, breaking the rules as no one does, simply a scandalous act, to stand up for what was right. Love most certainly comes with a high price, but in the end, it is worth it, having love and emotions. You may think the tranquil community Jonas lives in is the perfect place to be. But there is no difference between love and hate if we do not persist of both.

1 comment:

nani bug's blog said...

you are such a great writer. i personally didn't really love the book, reading your entree made me have a very different perspective of the book. you made it very interesting for me! thanks