Is it Society or the World?
Characters often experience a conflict that they must overcome. Jonas, the protagonist in “The Giver”, written by Lois Lowry must overcome obstacles. Throughout the book he must overcome the conflict he feels with the society. The conflict is, therefore, man vs. society. From there Jonas starts to oppose this society’s way of life.
Jonas wants to know what it feels like to be a human being, but the society wants to restrict everyone from truly being human including Jonas. This is clearly evident, when it stated in the novel how Jonas was proud that he now was taking the pills like many of those in the society, but when he remembered the vivid dreams he had, he wanted to grasp those dreams back. This can be seen, in the text when it stated, “Though the feelings were confused, he thought he liked the feelings that his mother had called Stirrings. He remembered that upon walking, he had wanted to feel the Stirrings again” (Lowry 39). This shows how Jonas is in conflict with the rules of the society.
Jonas’s journey continues and he begins to feel what being truly human feels like with the powerful emotion of love and the danger and pain that come with it. For example, when it stated, “‘I liked the feeling of love,’ he confessed.” “I wish we still had that,’ he whispered” (Lowry 126). Here Jonas starts to confess that he liked the feeling of love, but the society disagrees. Unfortunately, when Jonas tries to share these feelings with his parents, they tell him that love is meaningless and obsolete. They then tell him how the community cannot function smoothly if people do not use precise language, and how it is inappropriate to use a word like “love”(Lowry 127).
Finally, Jonas comes to the decision to not take the pills anymore. This is clearly evident when we read, “Jonas did not take his pill. Something within him, something that had grown through the memories, told him to throw the pill away” (Lowry 129). This action from Jonas shows that he will once again feel the Stirrings, and will start doing what he thinks is right and ignore what the society thinks. From experiencing pain and suffering The Giver and Jonas obtain wisdom. For instance, it stated in the novel, “Of course.
When you receive the memories. You have the capacity to see beyond. You’ll gain wisdom then, along with colors. And lots more” (Lowry 95). To begin with, this piece of evidence clearly shows when Jonas receives memories from The Giver he may experience pain and he may suffer, but he will be gaining much wisdom along in those hard times. Eventually, Jonas comes to this conclusion when he realized how much The Giver and all the past Receivers suffered from the complete chaos, pain, and knowledge the memories contained when he stated, “But you have to suffer like that all the time” (Lowry 104).
From experiencing pain and suffering the Receivers gain wisdom. This can be seen, in the text when The Giver would state “Go” “I’m in pain today. Come back tomorrow” (Lowry 106). In this piece of evidence The Giver is seen demonstrating the pain and suffering all the Receivers had experienced because of the memories. In addition, to that, Jonas later on in the novel stated, “Why do you and I have to hold these memories?” The Giver then replies, “It gives us wisdom” “Without wisdom I could not fulfill my function of advising the Committee of Elders when they call upon me” (Lowry 110-111). This clearly shows that all the pain and suffering The Giver, Jonas, and all the other Receivers experienced was only prevent everyone in the Community from suffering and to advise the Committee of Elders when called upon.
Sometime in the past, Jonas’s community decided to give up their memories in order to eliminate the pain and regret that came with them. They were trying to create a totally peaceful and harmonious society without conflict, war, or hate by eliminating emotion entirely. They succeeded: the community is almost faultlessly stable and utterly safe. Yet Jonas realizes that without memories, a person can’t learn from mistakes, celebrate accomplishments, and know love or happiness or any other deep emotion, leading him into realizing that doesn’t like the way the society functions the Community. After reading this fascinating novel, I relies how deeply I appreciate the freedom I have. ?This is therefore clear that a prevalent conflict throughout this novel is a Man vs.
Society conflict. Jonas was longing to know what it felt like to be truly human, he vehemently disagreed with the law of sameness, and he did not want to take the pills to control his feelings. As a result of reading this book, I relies how deeply I appreciate the freedom I have.