Lois Lowry’s The Giver depicts that of George Orwell’s 1984; a dystopian society.
George Orwell is a bit of an extremist having participated in the Spanish Civil War on the Republican side. So, maybe that is partly contributing to his harsh society. Each novel has some similarities with one another, running seemingly parallel, fictional worlds. In which the novels’ respective governing systems are strikingly different than what we are used to here in Canada. According to scholar Carter F.
Hanson, they are meant to come across as much worse than what we experience in our own society on a day-to-day basis. “The Giver begins in an imagined world intended to be worse than the reader’s own, although it is initially somewhat inviting.” (Hanson). In coextensive works, many aspects of the novels’ respective storylines are parallel. As demonstrated throughout the text of, Lowry’s The Giver and Orwell’s 1984.
Both authors seem to love literary devices as they are crowded with them, line after line. They both entail colourless worlds, no individualism or privacy, extreme rules, surveillance, rituals, male protagonists as well as very unique assigned family units. The society in Orwell’s 1984 would be characterized by constant fear, war and torture – room 101. While the society in The Giver is heavily relegated and controlled by the elders. The society is programed to think and act according to how it is expected by the leaders. The societies in both books live day by day and abide by major lies, made up to be real.
The population of Lowry’s and Orwells’ fantasy worlds appears to have been brainwashed; the characters in The Giver are taught to believe that they live in a perfect world, and everything the leaders do is for them and to balance the society. While people in 1984 are very loyal to the leaders in Oceania, and that is because of fear; people are forced to believe that feelings and privacy are not a thing. They are essentially scared of their own shadow, as they know they are being watched. The society is totalitarian, the Inner Party has the capabilities to change past, present and future so it is how they wish it to be. While It is made crystal clear, there are signs everywhere that read in large aggressive bold letters: “BIG BROTHER IS WATCHING YOU”.
Advertising reality, Big Brother watches every move through the telescreens, fear runs through the society. Life is still monitored in The Giver, just in a different way. Through wall speakers and video monitors outside their house. Throughout The Giver, the society depicts that of a utopian society.
Also absent from the community in The Giver is feelings and emotions. Both storylines feeling as if it helps create a more stable environment. Though they do have their differences, they share more similarities than not through their system of government, but the differences indicate that the society presented in 1984 is more totalitarian than that of the society depicted in The Giver.
It is almost like Lowry borrowed ideas from Orwell, and altered it a little bit. Both works have their characters assigned to roles at certain points in their lives throughout the novels. These roles primarily represent personality, or their rank on the social hierarchy. In 1984 members are assigned to their class at birth.
Class being Inner party, The Party or the Proles. They are both jam packed full of euphemisms. Now what exactly is a euphemism? They are used in real life, by say a Doctor, for example “My apologies we did absolutely everything we could but, unfortunately they did not make it.” Letting the society down easy, in reference to reality, which is more harsh, cruel words. It is also kind of ironic to have so many euphemisms in a book that has a hard ass dystopian society. “In the vast majority cases there was no trial, no report of the arrest.
People simply disappeared, always during the night. Your name as removed from the registers, every record of everything you had ever done was wiped out, your one-time existence was denied and then forgotten. You were abolished, annihilated: vapourized was the usual word.” (Orwell 19). To be “released” in The Giver was like saying they were killed, or euthanized; Newspeak, and words created by the Party in 1984, was used in place of harsh actions, criminal acts and to talk down and belittle members below them; When a member had died, it was normally expressed as “vapourized”; instead of saying, upper class, middle class or lower class the book uses Inner party, The Party and the Proles. When you were in The Inner Party you definitely wanted to stay, and if not, well then it would be best suited to attempt to get there.
“The aim of the High is to stay where they are. The aim of the Middle is to change places with the High. The aim of the Low, when they have an aim-for it is an abiding characteristic of the Low that they are too much crushed by drudgery to be more than intermittently conscience of anything outside their daily lives-is to abolish all distinctions and create a society in which all men shall be equal.” (Orwell 201); and to repopulate was known as “our duty to the party”. “They must, she said, produce a child if they could. So the performance continued to happen once a week, quite regularly, whenever it was not impossible. She use to even remind him of it in the morning, as something which had to be done that evening and which must not be forgotten.
” They have multiple themes in common, such as: infanticide, euthanasia, broken down “family unit”, and censorship. They share their target audience as well, as they’re both directed towards adolesence – with hidden lessons and morals implied. There are language barriers which must be abided by.In The Giver there is this language barrier called “language control”, which directly relates back to lack of emotions. Jonas asks his parents if they love him, and they respond back with “precision of language” which more or less means a restraint from individual emotions, hence cannot show love. Whereas 1984 the children keep an eye on their superior to ensure they do not need to be reported. The Party closely supervises interaction between men and women to ensure there is no love, “As soon as he touched her she seemed to wince and stiffen.
.. She would lie there with shut eyes, neither resisting nor cooperating, but submitting.”(Orwell 58). The Party down plays and belittles sexual intercourse to be dirty and unpleasant.
This was there way of making intercourse seem like it is only tolerable for procreation, forbidden for self pleasure. All a couple needs to do in The Giver to become parents is sign up and wait. They do not have their own child, a “Birthmother” does the work for them. They also do not receive the child right away, as it is a process. After birth the baby is cared for by the “Nurturer” which so happens to be Jonas’ Father. A family would not receive a child until they are a year old. The child is nameless for that initial year as well.
See the way it works is obviously birth first, then the child undergoes the extensive care of the Nurturer for that initial year. When that year came to a close, babies were examined, and if they were deemed inadequate, and did not meet expectations – they would be released. After that year had passed there was this ceremony called “The ceremony of one”, this is where the child would receive their nam,s as well as their “family unit”. The weird thing about this society is, every year there is a ceremony for ages one to twelve; twelve being last documented age and each year would come with promising new exciting materials. Anyways, come twelve it is goodbye.
The children receive their assignment and off they go. Assignment was just another way to word their job, but it is exactly as it sounds… It is an assignment, and there is no changing that assignment. Saying words that are forbidden, are breaking the rules, therefore foreshadowing a future release or vapourizing; “Jonas was careful about language. Not like his friend, Asher, who talked too fast and mixed things up, scrambling words and phrases until they were barely recognizable and very funny.” (Lowry 4); one better watch their speech. “Syme will be vapourized.
He is too intelligent. He sees too clearly and speaks too plainly. The Party does not like such people. One day he will disappear. It is written in his face.” (Orwell 53); both main characters are referencing possible consequences, if Asher, and Syme said what they wanted to. There is punishment for any rule breakers. Although the government in The Giver is a lot more lenient than the Inner Party from 1984, it ends up being the same outcome in the end.
Breaking a rule in Lowry’s utopian society is a little more forgiving than breaking a rule in Orwell’s dystopian society. Well, at least at first. An announcement is heard in The Giver when a rule is broken, but it is never directed at any one person in particular, though the person who broke the rule always knows it is a warning strike for them. Whereas in 1984 it is immediate punishment; arrest and torture. To be released it is either due to old age, breaking a rule, or when the government thinks there is something odd and wrong with that individual.
Jonas discovered that the release process is two steps. One being a lethal injection, and two being thrown down the garbage chute. In comparison to being vapourized in 1984 it is like when a hard drive is erased, everything is forgotten, wiped from the history. It is a criminal act to mention one’s name after they’ve been vapourized. Some things are limited in both novels, or even non existent. Speaking of limited – memory.
Memory is scarce; memory is earned, not native to life. Jonas is the receiver, he receives past memories from character The Giver. Only those two are aware of memories. While in 1984 there are no memories, The Party can change the past, present or future, so one does not have any recollection of what has transpired; “Who control the past control the future; who controls the present controls the past.”(Orwell 204).
Furthermore, in short just means that members will never be able to oppose and be against The Party, as there are no past events to base feelings on; they’ve never known anything.The protagonist from both novels are somewhat against believe that it is totally unfair and not proper to keep from the people. Both characters develop a plan to release memories and emotions to the people. Jonah planned to evacuate the community to release all the memories that had been given to him. Meanwhile, Winston decides to target Julia hence to show emotion – which is a complete violation of the law. The Party controls marriages, and it is basically a mirrored act of arranged marriages; a reality in life today. An arranged marriage is when a girl’s family and guy’s family talk and agree to introduce their children and force a marriage. One would probably believe that an arranged marriage has skyrocketed divorce rates than that of a traditional marriage.
Well, that is surprisingly false… Studies show that 55% of marriages in the world are arranged, and only 6% of arranged couples divorced; according to a 2012 study at least. Meanwhile in The Giver it works exactly the same, members are assigned to a random person. The marriage would take place after “The ceremony of twelve”. The Giver is like a ripple effect from the water drop out of 1984. A central question that has arisen for these two books is what is privacy? What is it like not being watched? In a world with no uniqueness no individuality, no colour; things would be dull and boring. With being closely admired by Big Brother, their lack of privacy is through video surveillance; The Giver has its own unique ways of invading personal lives. Furthermore, at the breakfast table it is more sharing than eating, as its the “sharing of dreams” ritual. Oh how exciting! Isn’t that just terrific? Sure is, and even better it is forced out of you, no holding anything in.
No secrecy; Jonas’ father’s words were basically like a crowbar just prying out any information he was feening for. Then later on there were more forceful actions at the dinner table. “The telling of feelings”, it is kind of like how puberty works. Attraction becomes real, and it is around a certain age. The one day Jonas was explaining his feelings about a girl in the bathtub it is discovered that he liked it. Oxymorons are another staple in Orwellian writing.Oxymoron: a figure of speech in which apparently contradictory terms appear in conjunction.
These are often used prior to a paradox, as it is also two things contradicting each other, but seems to make sense. Julia, a character from 1984 is pretty ugly. See how it just flows and fits together? Even though those are two completely different words.
So that is how it works. Paradox: a seemingly absurd or self-contradictory statement or proposition that when investigated or explained may prove to be well founded or true. Orwell and Lowry both use this device. A paradox is what 1984 is based, and expanded on; “War is peace, freedom is slavery, ignorance is strength.”; Looking at this and wondering what it is trying to say is quite interesting, yet puzzling. Well, actually it doesn’t make any sense right? Completely contradictory of each other.
War is hatred not peace, slavery is captivity not freedom and ignorance is cruel not strength. This quote was one of the three main to the socialist party INGSOC. “War is peace” and “freedom is slavery” are completely the opposite by definition, but had to be accepted by the citizens of Oceania. A mind game INGSOC liked to use was this thing called “doublethink”, this means that two beliefs that contradict each other are correct. Oceania is at the war the whole book, so how could there be peace? The hope for the society by The Party was the capability of switching to one another whenever. “Ignorance is strength.” is a demand to the people to never question, but to always believe and accept things exactly how The Party explains something. Another paradox is some of the departments in Oceania, like “The Ministry of Love”.
Sounds appealing and welcoming right? Well, booy could that ever be a wrong assumption! It is actually a terrible place to be, it is torture. Moreover, “The Ministry of Plenty”, probably expecting a lot of extras. Well, once again no just basic needs. What about truth, when the whole book is a lie but the residents residing in Oceania believe it to be true – “The Ministry of Truth”.
Changing the past and making one believe it is true, when it is a complete lie. Now, in The Giver the actual character the Giver is a paradox in itself. He appears as an old man, but really he is not. Many days ago The Giver used to actually be “The Receiver”, but since he has already learned all the knowledge, wisdom and memories it is his turn to pass the torch on to the new receiver, Jonas.
He appears as this old guy just because he has the wisdom of an old guy. Someday that will be Jonas as well. Another paradox in the book is “My work will be finished when i have helped the community to change and become whole.
” The Giver realizes that the community is not whole, it is lacking of creativity, everything is the exact same. Hence, why there is an assignment called “The receiver” so Jonas can receive memories and feel “whole”. The Giver realizes the community and its people need to grow in order to be complete. Need some creativity to flourish.
Orwell and Lowry have similar styles. Their books have similar looks. The books are parallel with one another. They are both fictional fantasy lands, with so many things in common. These societies are made and intended to be very different from reality. There are dictatorships, but nothing like the totalitarian system running in 1984. Orwell wrote his book with a nod to the future, how he saw it.
“If you want a vision of the future, imagine a boot stamping on human face – forever” (Orwell); his book definitely relates. Being written in 1949, that makes 1984 the future which is the year the novel is based off if. His quote connects to his book; the boot being Big Brother and the human face being the population of Oceania. Whereas, Lowry was inspired to write her book by her Father’s memory loss. With all these similarities it is the complete opposite of both books, in which there is no uniqueness and no individuality. In coextensive works, many aspects of the novels’ respective storylines are parallel. As demonstrated throughout the text of, Lowry’s The Giver and Orwell’s 1984.
Sometimes having things too similar can be dull and boring, but these two had their entertaining moments. Well, that is a wrap.