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“The Giver” by Lois Lowry: Comparison between the Book and the Film


The Giver by Lois Lowry Representation of a utopian society against the threats of a dystopian feeling is anartistic challenge that requires strategy in terms of narration. The essay, therefore, will attempt to see the links between a movie and a book. The Giver, a novel by Lois Lowry has certain similarities and differences to its movie adaptation directed by Philip Noyce. For example, both the book and film depicts the deterioration of the society from utopian to dystopian. The immediate victim of the transformation is Jonas who has wonderful experiences in his 12th and 13th years of his existence. A replication of scene is notable in the movie with the plot set in 2048 when the community decides to eradicate feelings and races in order to achieve a utopian world (Lowry & Finn, 2001). However, while the book casts Jonas, the protagonist, as an 11 year-old boy who is accorded the role of the Receiver of Memories, in the movie he is 16 years he is tasked with advising the Chief Elder.

In terms of plot development, while the novel explores the eradication of emotional lives belonging to the main characters, the movie through its cast of Jeff Bridges, Brenton Thwaites, and Odeya Rush attempts to represent Jonas’s powers both as the Receiver and Giver (Lowry, 2014). Additionally, the book and film have equal representation of communal ills such as hunger, war, and pain which are largely controlled by ‘the Elders.’

Issues of class structure, conformity, and governmental control in the book and movie are in the firm grip of ‘the Elders’ who do not permit other people to make any decisions. For instance, while the community encourages the idea of ‘sameness’ to prevent its people from interacting with the past, there’s always extreme control. Lack of freedom demonstrates elements of governmental control based on class structures and the need to conform to stipulated morals and values (Lowry & Finn, 2001). Alternatively, the community’s decision to refuse Jonas the permission to leave the community and depart with the Giver shows how class structures determined one’s fate. In other words, both the book and movie attempt to expose varying imperfections of the protagonist’s society. Societal imperfection is when Jonas and Asher fail to find the importance of communal decisions they get to Gabe’s house for Christmas festivities.

According to the book and the film, a perfect society is a result of choices made by individuals based on the urgency to eliminate the threats of a dystopian world. Similarly, while the desire to have a utopian society is an interesting choice, characters such as Jonas, The Giver, and Katie Holmes in the movie also explain the imperfection of existence (Lowry & Finn, 2001).

World connections exemplified both in the text and film is clear indication of history influences class structures in society and types of government they adopt. The Giver concept, for instance, shows that some societies are often dependent on the upper class to shape its major decisions for citizens such as Jonas, Gabriel, and Asher. Contrastingly, as noted in the movie, creation of governments is wholly dependent on consensus of the people or its leaders (Lowry, 2014). Consequently, as observed by the fundamental role of ‘the elders’ in the movie and the text, governments can either adopt democracies or authoritarian rule to govern its people.

Sameness is illustrated in both the book and the film through the elders’ decision to remove cases of strife and pain including emotional depth of characters. Colour, on other hand, is how the community treats its members based on race. Characters such as Gabriel, Taylor Swift, and Meryl Streep are unable to comprehend race issues particularly when feelings and emotions are not well defined (Lowry & Finn, 2001). In other words, as demonstrated by Jonas inability to visualize memory and colour only heightens dystopian feelings of an imperfect society.

However, music and diversity only show how memories are enhanced by art from different backgrounds to strengthen the matter of emotion. That is enforced by the protagonist’s age of 11 and 16 years as depicted in the text and the film respectively to display the importance of individual choices in regards to memory. Overall, the relationship between pain and pleasure only reveal the power of ‘the elders’ is dictating societal rules beneficial for attaining a utopian society (Lowry, 2014). The endings of both movie and film evoke feelings of illusion in Jonas because he fails to see the future resolved conclusively. Therefore, as the director of the film, I would have empowered Gabe to have the powers to influence both the past and the present. Overall, my choice would try to connect the ideas of utopia and dystopia.

Lowry, L. & Finn, P. (2001). Literature Circle Guide the Giver: Everything You Need for Successful Literature Circles That Get Kids Thinking, Talking, Writing and Loving Literature. New York, NY: Scholastic Teaching Resources.
Lowry, L. (2014). The Giver. Mason, OH: SAGE.

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