Everyone lives happily in the world of The Giver. Maybe we can say this world is Utopia. In this society, pain, illness, famine or war which can make it hard for people don’t exist. Every person’s way of life is based on regulated rules of society. Everything is controlled by the committee. The committee discusses the best and most effective way of life of each person and the person is assigned that way of life. Since the committee discusses so thoughtfully and carefully, everyone is satisfied with the decision.
The day a person reaches twelve years of age, his or her job is decided. The main character, Jonas was designated as a Receiver of Memory. It is a very rare and important job. Only Jonas has that assignment. Being designated as a Receiver of Memory shakes Jonas to his very foundation. The job of the Receiver of Memory involves all the memories of the world from centuries ago being passed to him as the successor. ‘All’ literally means all, so this includes other emotions except happiness and joyfulness which Jonas has experienced. During his training, for the first time, Jonas experiences pain, illness, famine or war through the predecessor’s memories.
However, at the same time, he also learned the word ‘love.’ When Jonas asked his parents “Do you love me?” their answer is “Precision of language, please!” They define the word ‘love’ as a meaningless word. In this process, Jonas finally realized there is something ‘wrong’ in this society, so he decided to escape this society with a baby who was in danger of being killed. The reason is the moment of escape of the Receiver of Memory, the memories of the Receiver will be spread to all the general people. Showing that Jonas is suffering of coldness and starvation during his
way to elsewhere, the story ends.
There can be many different opinions to Jonas’s drastic decision. Maybe some people think Jonas should have lived in the society peacefully, by hiding the truth, because Jonas’s escape will cause general people hardship. However, we can pose a question whether a society where everyone has no complaints or pain is a real Utopia. Can we say society which defines ‘love’ as ‘meaningless’ is Utopia? Is a life without any pain and agony a real happy life? If there is no pain and agony, is the existence of happiness possible, in the first place? It can’t be denied that Jonas gave society pain. However, at the same time, he presented people the chance of knowing the real meaning of love and happiness. I personally thought it was fortunate that a person like Jonas was chosen to be the Receiver of Memory. If someone who kept his silence was chosen, the general people would have to live forever without knowing the real meaning of love. What if we were Jonas? What kind of choice would we make? This isn’t a totally unrelated story. We confront many
situations like this in our everyday life. Are you going to admit falsehood and injustice with a
comfortable life, or reveal the truth and bear all the responsibilities and attacks for throwing society into turmoil? Do I have courage to face and let people know truth? This is a question that Jonas gives to the readers.