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If one is in a world where he or she is given a choice, what would one say? Some people would say that one would want conformity. One might say that because everything is equal and everyone is safe. Others might say one would not want conformity, one would like individuality, that there is choice and variation. Today, we have individuality where everyone is treated equal and there is choice in whatever we want to do. Lois Lowry’s The Giver is an example of how there is no choice. Even though conformity creates a community that is safe and equal, it is not worth the cost of freedom.
In this community everyones lives are decided for them. When someone wants to have a spouse, he or she receive one without choice in who to live with. If one would start having feelings for someone, he or she are told to take pills that would wipe away those thoughts:
“Then, in the same way that his own dwelling slipped away behind him as he rounded a
corner on his bicycle, the dream slipped away from his thoughts. Very briefly, a little
guiltily, he tried to grasp it back. But the feelings had disappeared. The Stirrings were
gone.” (Lowry 39).
This is because everyone in the community is supposed to be seen as equal. All the children in the community attend school together and receive the same education. If a child is different from everyone else, or disobeys the rules to many times than he or she would be released so that no one could have be influenced by them. These are some of the procedures that help the community contain conformity.
This conformity is regulated by the community. The correction of speech is corrected at the early age. If one mispronounces a word, than one is immediately corrected. When Asher was a three, he had mispronounced the word snack,
“The discipline wand, in the hand of the Childcare worker, whistled as it came down across Asher’s hands. Asher whimpered, cringed, and corrected himself instantly. ‘Snack,’ he whispered.” (Lowry 55).
This is how the community handles speech. The community wants everyone to speak properly in order not to lie and say inappropriate words. It is a lie to say wrong words, and one can not lie in the community. There are also rules against rudeness, stealing, and lying. These rules where made to help control the citizens and make everyone equal.
Everyone is looked at as equal in this community. During the last month of December, all of the young citizens celebrate their rites of passage on the same day. They do not have individuality so everyone in the same age group is presented with the same gift as everyone else to show that one matured,
“Jonas watched the new Nines gravitate toward their waiting bicycles, each one admiring his of her nametag. He saw the Tens stroking their new shortened hair,the females shaking their heads to feel the unaccustomed lightness without the heavy braids they had worn so long.” (Lowry 47).
In this community the citizens feel extremely accomplished to have made it to that spot, but everyone gets the same gift with no variation. There are many gifts that are presented to show the coming of age, but it is all conformity. This way the community can maintain jealousy.
Even if one lived in a place where everything is maintained they would not know that there was another option. Today we think that there is no other way to live, but we have many illnesses and problems with our world that it would be difficult to choose which way one would want to live in. Lowry presents us with examples of how that world wold be like if we all had conformity. She shows us that living that way could be possible. Seeing that community as equal, makes us think more of our freedom.