"The Giver": Is it better for all people to be alike or for people to be different?

Essay by Austinarita99A+, October 2005

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What's better? Being eminent, or being undistinguished? In the world today people make their own decisions, clean their own houses, drive their own cars, and live their own lives. Or they think they do. In Lois Lowry's novel "The Giver", a young boy named Jonas lives in a uniformed community; he thought he lived a normal life until someone showed him the truth. Where Jonas lives, everyone is the same, life is safe, orderly, and predictable. Rules are strictly adhered to; every aspect of a person's life is carefully planned. People rarely make choices on their own; everything is decided for them by the community. There is no snow or sunshine, no colors or music, no animals or nature. People in the community take special care to avoid doing or saying anything different. In the community, one must not say anything that causes discomfort to others, and one must use language precisely.

Husbands and wives are matched as couples by a Committee of Elders who reviews each individual to see if a person's characteristics will be compatible with those of his mate. Exactly two children-one male and one female-are assigned to each family unit. The elderly live at the House of the Old. Those whose children have grown to have families of their own live with other Childless Adults. Newborn infants are nurtured by people called nurturers, not parents. Each and everyone of the people in the community are identical in personality, appearance, skin color, hair color, race, everything. But is it better for everyone to live this way? People should have their own personalities, have their own opinion, and should be able to be distinguished- not only physically, but mentally- from one another.

If you don't have a personality, there is nothing that can define you.