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The Community In The Giver Is Not A Better Alternative To Contemporary Australian Society

866 words - 3 pages

The Giver, by Lois Lowry, was published in 1993, and caused worldwide controversy over its views on conformity, communism, and euthanasia. It is about a character named Jonas, who lives in a conformist community where there is no colour, emotions, love, weather and most importantly, choice. This community is inferior to the modern day Australian community. The community in The Giver, which is led by a committee of Elders, does not allow for any choice, as in their eyes, choice is a risky, unnecessary concept. Jonas, like everyone else, is oblivious to this, until he is assigned the job of the Receiver of Memories. This job involves receiving memories from the Giver of Memories, who received his memories from the previous Giver, and “back, and back, and back” (p99). With these memories, he begins to realise that choice is not such a risky, unnecessary thing; it is an important thing that makes everyone unique.

In the modern Australian community, there is an abundance of choice, especially with Australia being a democratic country. In Australia, most people can choose their own leader, job, hobbies, food, entertainment and spouse. Choice plays a key role in making everyone different from one another. As David Oman McKay, the former president of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints says:
Freedom of choice is more to be treasured than any possession earth can give. It is inherent in the spirit of man. It is a divine gift to every normal being (URL#1).

Also, Dr Kathie Nunley, an author/teacher says: “Living in a world with no choice is awful. It's worse than awful - it's absolute misery” (URL #2). Without a doubt, choice is very important. But in Lowry’s book, The Giver, choices are very rare, as Jonas states: “We don’t dare to let people make choices of their own” (p124). As Jonas receives more and more memories from the Giver, he begins to realise that choice is actually an essential part of life, and he gets increasingly doubtful of his community. That, along with the knowledge that the Community kill the old and disabled babies that he gains later in the book, is what makes him decide to leave the Community in search of a better place.

The topic of euthanasia has been debated heavily over the past few years. In Australia, all forms of euthanasia are banned, although in 1995, in the Northern Territory a bill was passed allowing euthanasia to be performed. This bill was overturned two years later by the Federal Government. The type of euthanasia that is used to kill people in The Giver is called non-voluntary euthanasia. This is when the person being euthanised didn’t...

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