Have you ever wondered what it is like to live in a perfect world? In the book The Giver by Lois Lowry you can find out. The book is about a 12 year old boy named Jonas, who is selected to become the community's new "Receiver of Memories". In this job he must receive the world's memories of pain, sorrow, and happiness. Since his community's memories have been taken away, and only the Giver and the Receiver have them, every memory is a new experience for Jonas. In this Newbury award winning book the community is seemingly a utopia, but there is an essence of a dystopia.
The community Jonas lives in has many signs of a utopia. One of the many reasons this can be seen as a Eden is that there is no hunger. People in the community are supplied with food every day for breakfast, lunch and dinner. No one ever has to scavenge and no matter what kind of a job they have, there is always food on the table. This is a very good thing, because if there is no hunger, then there is no fighting, or wars over food. Also, no people can be homeless and poor, because of the fact that everyone has a home and food. Another aspect of this community which could be positive or negative is the absence of memory. This is good, because no one has memories of terrible things like murder, war, or starvation, as it says on page 100 "he perceived the word gun". This quote implies that no one has every seen or used lethal weapons like guns. Also citizens can't try to model themselves after people like Hitler, or Osama Bin Laden. More utopian qualities include a lack of religious or race discrimination. For all the citizens know there is no God, no different races, and therefore no discrimination. That means no wars over religion (World Wars 1,2) and no fighting based on race, or the color of one's skin (Martin Luther King). The last and probably the most important characteristic is that there is no sadness. No one knows the feeling of something or someone being taken away from them, except when the 8 year old children give up their Comfort objects. Also people don't think of release as death, they are told that the "released" go to a special place. These are the ways this society is a utopia.
Even though there are many examples of a nirvana there are also tell tale signs of an imperfect society. One absolutely terrible thing about this community is that no one except for the Receiver and Giver have emotions,meh inch means no one can express their real feelings. When the "families" share their feelings they are just talking about the shallow perceptions, like what they were upset and happy about during the day. They don't know how to express feelings of love, and hatred, and true sadness. People in this community are one-dimensional, (especially when they start taking the stirring pills). Another negative affect to the community is that there is no free will. For example you can't leave your house at night as it says on page 165 "he had left his dwelling at night...A major transgression." Also these people can't choose their own spouse, or how many children they have. Families in this society are put together like Lego blocks. They don't really have a connection with one another, they are just cohabiting. The last clue to how broken this society really is is that there is no memories, or history of the past. As discussed earlier this can be a good thing or a bad thing. While people can't remember things like war or death, they also can't remember feelings of compaction, or the excitement of opening presents on Christmas. Plus while they can't remember villains like Hitler, they can't learn from their mistakes, like the ones a person like Hitler made. These are the reasons why this society might be a dystopia.
Overall Jonas's community is a Dystopia. As the Receiver, he made a good decision leaving the community, and there is a reason that this community has a Receiver of Memory. The Receiver is there for when things don't go "Perfect", and to correct the community for its wrong doings. Jonas's reason for leaving was that he saw that there was no redemption for his world and the only way to save it was to give all of his past memories back to the people. That is why this book is a dystopian novel.