|Name: Tony Chen
Course: 3B/4A SABB
Teacher: Mrs. Parker
The Giver: Price of Freedom
‘Freedom is something that dies unless it’s used’. The Giver (1993) by Louis Lowry is set in a futuristic society where everyone is equal and neither crime nor freedom exists. The Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR 1942) and The Giver gives you an idea of a utopian society. The novel delivers a message; ‘You cannot help who you are.’ “Everyone has the right to the freedom of opinion and expression” is known through the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. The Giver violates the 4th, the 16th and the 19th, articles by forcing people to follow the orders of someone that has more power than them, no one has the right to enter your home without your permission, and everyone has the right to think and receive information that they want.
Our society allows us to choose our own way of living, but The Giver shows someone else controls that people’s life. Characters in the novel don’t get to choose their own paths, “The Elders know Asher. They’ll find exactly the right Assignment for him.” (17). This is a clear transgressing the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. This violates people’s right to make choices for their government. No one has the right to control you or to enslave you (Article 4). It also shows that the elders have stronger rights over the youths, "After Twelve, age is not important. Most of us even lose track of how old we are as time passes, though information in the the Hall of Open Records... What's important is the preparation for adult life, and the training you'll receive in your Assignment."(17).
“No doors in the community were locked, ever” (73), demonstrates a complete ignorance of the UDHR. “It was the same sort of speaker that occupied a place in every dwelling, but one thing about it was different, it had an off button. ‘To have the power to turn the speakers off?’ Thought Jonas”(79). This shows that they violates the UDHR’s 12th article by not giving them the freedom or security of locking their doors. This also confirms that not all people have the same power and rights.
In the novel, only certain groups of people could get the knowledge. The 19th sentence in the UDHR shows that “Everyone has the right to say what they think and to give and receive information” (article19) but in the novel, they clearly ignore the rule. "Simply stated, although it's not really simple at all, my job is to transmit to you all the memories I have within me. Memories of the past." (77). This is also evidence that shows, "Sometimes I wish they'd ask for my wisdom more often-there are so many things I could tell them; things I wish they would change. But they don't want change. Life here is so orderly, so predictable-so painless. It's what they've chosen." (103).
We must be willing to pay a price for cfreedom; this means that freedom is not something that you could obtain without sacrifice. This clearly shows the differences between the UDHR and the violations in The Giver. Louis Lowry tried to express a life in a world with no hunger or pain. With the absence of the freedom of expression, choice of government, and freedom of choice, the utopian society in The Giver directly violates the articles of UDHR. In our society, we have chosen to sacrifice order and predictability in order to preserve our individual freedom.
"The Universal Declaration of Human Rights, UDHR, Declaration of Human Rights, Human Rights Declaration, Human Rights Charter, The Un and Human Rights."UN News Center. UN, n.d. Web. 07 Feb. 2013. .
Lowry, Lois. The Giver. Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1993. Print.