What disturbing aspects of Jonas’s society are revealed in these first few chapters?What negative effects might living in this kind of society have on people?Why do you think they don’t question the way things are and how they came to be that way?
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Despite the community's many idyllic traits, when we interpret The Giver as an observer outside of Jonas's society, we begin to see several discordant notes that are distinctly dystopian rather than utopian. Most importantly, the enforcement of rigid rules is often shown to be harsh and to be so everpresent as to limit personal choice and freedom severely. All major aspects of Jonas's future, such as his spouse, job, and children, will be assigned by the community. The society appears to be communist and socialist with elements of totalitarianism, even though the rules and practices appear to be well-intentioned and are usually not resisted. Furthermore, the concept of release immediately raises alarms, as the question arises of what happens to the unfortunate pilot-in-training and to people who have broken the rules three times. In addition, the lack of animals in the novel serves as a reminder that this society is lacking some vital elements.
Lowry has created an unsettling mood of fear from the opening sentence. December, which heralds the beginning of winter, is foreshadowed as a significant month throughout the book, first as the time of the Ceremony of Twelve and later in the novel as connected to Jonas's experience of snow. At the same time, although Jonas comforts himself, the fear to which he refers in the initial paragraph remains in the novel's suspenseful tone, and we come to echo Jonas's anticipation, which is made even stronger by the displacement of the community in time and space. Although the narration provides hints that allow us to glimpse how the society relates in time to our own modern day, our confusion about Jonas's circumstances provides suspense that leaves us nervous and on edge.