What kind of picture does Lowry draw of the community in The Giver?

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accessteacher eNotes educator| Certified Educator

It is possible to view the community that is presented to us in this novel as being very idyllic and peaceful. The inhabitants of this community each have their own clearly defined role and feelings and emotions are openly acknowledged and talked about. In many ways, this community appears to be superior to our own in this respect.

However, if we look back at the beginning of the text knowing the truth of the community, we can see that there are some worrying elements in the descriptions that we are given of the community. Consider for example the following reference to the law about children:

Two children--one male, one female--to each family unit. It was written very clearly in the rules.

Such reference to "the rules" and other such indications suggest very early on that the peace and tranquility of this community is actually built very firmly on a repressive regime that uses a set of rules which are enforced ruthlessly. As the novel progresses and we, along with Jonas, learn the true meaning of what it means to be "released," we realise that the community is actually some form of nightmare dystopia that achieves stability and peace through a relentless crushing of free will and totalitarian control of its inhabitants.