Theme of Utopia in The Giver
Length: 808 words (2.3 double-spaced pages)
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Utopia is an imaginary state, which consists of people who believe they are more capable to live in a group than alone. In such a community, the welfare of the group is the primary interest comparing to the comfort of individuals. The purpose of this society is to allow people to live in equality and freedom. Their social and economical status would be the same. An example of such a society was established in 1848, by John Humphrey Noyes. It soon dissolved at 1880 because of the oppositions aroused among the people about the system of "complex marriage". This system is different from the one in The Giver, whereby all adults in the community were considered married to one another.
The Giver presents a community that appears to be perfect on the surface. Jonas's community is free of warfare, pain, sorrow and other bitterness we suffer in our society. The world seems to be secure and undergoes little conflict. Such a community seems flawless and is the idealistic society that we longed to live in. However , through Jonas's training, the imperfections of the Utopian community are revealed. The community allows little individual freedom and choice. In allowing only one person, the Receiver, to bear the memories of the world, the community frees itself from suffering and conflict. As a result, it gives up the ability to experience true feelings, passion, individual privacy, freedom and knowledge. To maintain the community's order, strict rules are applied to the inhabitants. "Releases" ( a less offensive term for kills) are performed to the citizens who jeopardize the stability and peace of the community. The inhabitants' careers and spouses are chosen by the Elders (or government).
No one is permitted to get married or have children unless the Elders believe he/she is appropriate for marriage or parenthood. This fictional community is far from the reality we live in. Although, many of us struggle to escape the torment of hunger and poverty, everyone is considered equal and enjoy individual freedom. We often suffer from sorrow and pain but we also experience love and joy. We all have disappointments and failure in life. Then again, through those ordeals we would acquire wisdom. However, our society is not perfect as well. A great deal of tears are shed due to the love ones we lost in wars. Our children are used as weapons to fulfill our vengeance toward other nations. Vengeance and hatred sustain one another; it will be an everlasting cycle and warfare will not rest. Nature of human beings would prevent us from living in peace.
Given the nature of human beings, the more idealistic society would be the one we are currently living in. Man in our society would never be satisfied on what he possesses. Even the goods of the world would not fulfill his hunger. The possessions of others would always be better than what he holds and he would sell his soul to the devil to rob the treasures that others cherish. The main purpose of Utopia is to enjoy the equal social and economic status. Would man be willing to abolish his greed and share his wealth with others? The more he earns, the more he craves. Man would never be content. Our society enables man to live according to his nature. Would he be willing to give up his freedom and be barred with strict rules? When man enjoys privileges, he would not surrender them without a fight. His greed and selfishness would prevent the founding of an Utopian society.
Given the nature of human beings, our society would be more suitable for mankind to live in. Although the community in The Giver claims to be peaceful and secure, it removes the rights, privacy, freedom, and knowledge from its inhabitants. Do peace and comfort worth any price? Would man be willing to give up his freedom and privacy to obtain it? Man would never be satisfied, but our society offers the freedom he relishes. The "imaginary ideal state" might just be the one we are presently living in.