The Giver: What are some negative points of view on Jonas' community?

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mwestwood | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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Like most dystopias, the world in which Jonas dwells is limited in many ways in order to eliminate conflict. In fact, there are several ways that the residents of this world have been dehumanized. 

  • Expression of emotions - There are only euphemistic words that people are allowed to use to express themselves. These words prevent the speaker from offending others; however, they in turn desensitize the individual to their own feelings as well as those of others. There is no art or music as a consequence.
  • Sexual feelings - In order to reduce the aggression of males and seductive actions of females and the other complications that come from hormones, the teens must take drugs that suppress this kind of sexual urge. Men and women do not copulate; instead, there are birth mothers.
  • Free Will - Children are uniform. At specific ages, girls wear hair ribbons and a certain style of hair, children learn to ride bicycles, and at the age of twelve have their life vocations assigned to them. When people grow old, or if they do not fit into the society, they are "released," which is euthanized. Parents are assigned children who are born of others.
  • Sensory Experiences - Jonas and the others no longer feel pain, extremes of temperature, illness, nausea, etc.  Their lives are so desensitized that they experience little or no change in their kinesthetic and tactile senses.

Only the Giver belongs to the world of natural human beings as he has the memory of all that has been removed from people. When Jonas reaches the hill with Gabriel as the run away, Jonas remembers the place that he sees and is genuinely happy in anticipation of all that he and Gabriel will soon experience. "Memories of joy flooded through him suddenly."

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