Why and how is the setting important to The Giver by Lois Lowry?

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vmoriarity eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The setting of The Giver by Lois Lowry is important to the story for several reasons. First of all, this is a futuristic world. Everything is regulated from job assignments to what is said to requiring everyone to discuss their feelings each day during meals. This sets up the essential question of the story - Is it better to have freedom or guaranteed safety? The setting also allows the author to lay the groundwork for the conflict when Jonas begins to want that freedom more than the predictability offered by the Community.

One aspect of this setting that is not obvious initially is that nobody but Jonas and the Giver can see colors. This deepens the reader's understanding that this is a milktoast kind of society. There is no passion, no excitement, good or bad, of any kind in an attempt to promote a predictable, calm society where everyone is safe. This regulated lifestyle clearly eliminates choice on the part of the citizens. The setting creates a fertile ground for conflict should anyone wish to have choice.

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The Giver

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