Comparing Lois Lowry’s The Giver And Ray Bradbury’s Fahrenheit 451

2290 words - 9 pages

The novels The Giver by Lois Lowry and Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury are both very similar and take place in futuristic dystopian societies. In The Giver, the 12- year old protagonist, Jonas, is given his lifetime assignment at the Ceremony of Twelve. Jonas becomes the Receiver of Memory, shared by only one other in his community and discovers the terrible truth about the society in which he lives. Likewise, in Fahrenheit 451 the main character Guy Montag recognizes how awful and empty his community is. He is a fireman in a community where all books are banned. His job is to start houses on fire that contain books. Guy loved his job until he came across a professor who told him of a future where people could think. Suddenly he realizes there is something he needs to do. Both Jonas and Montag live in highly disciplined societies that depend on an effective means of enforcing rules by acts of punishment. The conflict between the power of the individual and the power structures of the communities suggests that radical, yet positive social change may be possible through courageous acts of resistance.
Beneath the surface of orderliness and sameness in both communities lies an extensive network of social discipline. In The Giver, citizens are distributed spatially according to their stage of life. For example, the newborn children live together at the Nurturing Center, children and adults live together in families, and the oldest adults live together in the House of the Old. Also, the power structures control activities for a purpose to encourage those that are useful towards the society and those that are considered counterproductive. Therefore, children’s lives are tightly regulated by their defined jobs and participation in the community, consequently causing little time for any play or relaxation. Another form of discipline Jonas’ society portrays is regulation of sexual desire. Sexual ‘stirrings’ in both adolescents and adults are suppressed through daily medication. Procreation is only accomplished through Birthmothers, whom are impregnated through artificial insemination and never get a chance to see any child they give birth to. In the society depicted in Lowry’s novel, training is divided into highly structured stages based on age. For instance, at the age of three children are trained in language skills; at nine, they are presented with bicycles; and at twelve, they begin training for their assigned role in life. Also, routine is visible: “Each day, adults, whose spouses and children have been chosen for them, bicycle off to jobs assigned for them before returning to their domiciles to eat the prepared meal delivered to them at a specific time” (Hanson 46). In The Giver, surveillance is evident in several ways. There are loudspeakers that have hidden cameras as well as microphones, which allow activities to be monitored. Also, members of the community watch one another; even children look out for any violations. One of the most apparent...

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