Losing Individuality In The Giver, By Lois Lowry

1575 Words 7 Pages
Losing Individuality
There is a Japanese proverb, “The nail that sticks out gets hammered down,” meaning it is hard to be different without meeting resistance (Hashi, “Conformity in Japan”). Society has always wanted to make people “normal.” From the first moment I stepped into Athens Academy, I sought to both stand out and fit in, but these are contradictions and cannot really exist together. At first I thought I was succeeding at this game, but as time progressed, I realized that I was just slowly assimilating to what I thought people wanted me to be because I thought I would be admired by my peers if I just went with the flow. I was not wrong. When I realized I was losing parts of myself, I tried to go back to who I was before and found
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Everyone in this society created by Lowry, has no concept of individualism, true emotion, or color. They see the world as black and white, literally and they feel no emotion or desire because of the “pills” they take to “treat” any “stirrings” of emotions (Lowry, “The Giver” 38). Without emotion there can be no “love,” which is one of the first things Jonas, the protagonist of the story, notices and longs for after receiving the “memories” (Lowry, “The Giver” 125-126). Jonas’s ability to feel, to really feel true emotion, makes him different, a threat to the dystopian society he lives in. According to the motto or philosophy of the society, harmony can only exist if “people (are not allowed to) make choices of their own… (as it is) not safe” (Lowry, “The Giver” 98). The “elders” make every decision for the people so that they“(do not) [choose] wrong” and disrupt the fragile balance of the society that relies on people thinking the same way (Lowry, “The Giver” 98 and 15). If one does blend coherently with this society they are struck down or “released” (Lowry, “The Giver” 2). For example: “The precision of language was one of the most important tasks of small children. Asher,” Jonas’s best friend, “had asked for a smack,” meaning snack, “He couldn 't seem to stop” saying “smack” instead of snack, “though for each lapse, the discipline wand came again, escalating to a series of painful lashes that left marks on Asher 's legs. Eventually, for a period of time, Asher stopped talking altogether” (Lowry, “The Giver” 55). The leadership, effectively silenced the three year old who did not conform perfectly to the standards of the society. Silence is perhaps one of the greatest forms of loss of individuality, similarly

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