“The Giver” by Lois Lowry is a dystopian novel published in 1993, set in a society that initially appears utopian but turns out to be dystopian in the course of the narration.
A General Synopsis of the Story
Jonas lives in a seemingly utopian society where everything is in order, and everybody’s life has been perfectly planned to leave them with no free will. There are no seasons, nature, or any form of entertainment.
Everybody within the community must be cautious of their actions or words so as not to offend anybody. During the marriage, couples are preselected for each other by a committee of elders. Mates are chosen based on compatibility with one another and can only have two children. The elderly live in nursing homes, and infants in a nursery until they turn 1. When children finally leave home, their parents live with other childless adults.
When Jonas and his peers turn 12, they are each assigned tasks in preparation for various professional fields. Due to his integrity, intelligence, and courage, Jonas gets chosen to be the receiver of memories. This is the most prestigious occupation in the community. He will bear the knowledge of secrets known to no other until he passes them over to his successor. However, he has to deal with the pain and sorrow that the memories carry.
At the onset of his training, Jonas receives good memories from the giver. This makes him very excited. However, he must also be informed of the memories of fear, loneliness, grief, pain, and rage- all of which Jonas has never experienced in his life. It is these memories that make him realize the lack of free will and unhappiness that exists within the community. He also gains a different perspective of life and resolves to make a change.
Jonas and the giver conspire to change the whole community. He resolves to run away to the Elsewhere, a land he has had of in stories that lie far away. However, his exit will result in the secret memories seeping into the community. The inhabitants will be enlightened on the freedoms they have been denied, and the resulting awakening might result in a revolution.
Jonas leaves for the long and tumultuous journey despite the risk of freezing to death, starvation and being caught. He finally sees some lights at a far distance, and he is now affirmative that he has finally arrived at his destination.