The Dystopian Societies in Lois Lowry's Gathering Blue and The Giver

In both dystopian stories, Gathering Blue and The Giver, Lois Lowry clearly captures how the citizens of the community has a fear for the outside world, but in The Giver the way they control the community is more efficient and organized, while in Gathering Blue they are more messy and heartless. A dystopian community, is a community where a perfect society is built through corporate, bureaucratic, technological, moral, or totalitarian control. In The Giver, the male protagonist Jonas, is selected for a job where he has the power to relive the past and in the community, everybody is taught to follow the rules and isn't allow to brag, complain, or violate the rules or else they will be released or killed.

In Gathering Blue, the female protagonist Kira, is assigned the weaver of the future, and in the community people are independent and some are even left for dead, they do follow the rules even during desperate times because if not they would be sent to the field to be taken away from the beasts.

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In many ways there are the same like how the citizens have a fear of the outside world or how there is a group of people that are worshipped throughout the community. Lois Lowry in The Giver does a better job capturing how the citizens and Jonas is restricted to the community and has a fear of the places beyond the boundaries of the community, where as Lois Lowry in Gathering Blue, Kira and the people are not restricted, but fear the places outside of the boundaries.

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In The Giver, the community functions with the citizens' dependence on the Chief Elders, which the Chief Elders reinforce with rules and restrictions. These restrictions allow the people of the community to be safe and for the community to operate properly. They are restricted from leaving the community and going to elsewhere, and if they do they would send planes and jets to search for the person or people, like they did when Jonas and Gabriel left for their trip to elsewhere on page 168, “He knew they were search planes. They flew so low that they woke him with the noise of their engines, and sometimes, looking out and up fearfully from the hiding places, he could almost see the faces of the searchers." They use these planes to find the people who have escaped from the community and is probably released, due to the fact that they broke one of the rules. Like in Gathering Blue, when rules are broken there is some form of “elimination” to be happened to the person that broke the rule(s). In Gathering Blue they are to be taken to field to let the "beasts” take them away, but in The Giver they are injected with a needle and later their movements will become stiff and then they will turn motionless, is another words die.

In Gathering Blue, Kira the girl protagonist is forced to leave her old home in which her mother died in, and to go into the quarters, in which she can live in luxury unlike before, but she then realizes how the council of guardians are holding their powers (Jo's ability to sing, Thomas's ability to carve, and Kira's ability to weave) captive. She was restricted to her quarters asides from going to Annabelle the dyer's house. In the beginning she thought everything was alright for once, but then she realized that she and Thomas gave up their freedom, before they went to the quarters they had the freedom to carve whatever or weave whatever, and in Jo's case, sing whatever, but once their parents died, they had no choice over what they wanted to weave, sing, or carve, unless it was during the free time. “Perhaps her mother had been poisoned? But why? Because they wanted Kira. But why? So that they could capture her gift: her skill with the threads. And Thomas? His parents too? And Jo's? Why? So that all their gifts would be captive,” on page 235, she realized that she was restricted in so many ways, and their parents' deaths, were not accidents. They were done on purpose, to hold their power to create captive, so that they could create the future the Council of Guardians want to create, to create a future where the Ruin is just a memory, but just because Kira was restricted she wasn't scared of the outside of the community.

Kira in Gathering Blue, wasn't afraid what is beyond the boundaries, because her father has explained to her that in their village, disabled or not, they all get married, they all are treated as if they are just like the others, the blind people have someone as their eyes, the deaf people has someone as their ears, she actually wanted to, but she couldn't. She couldn't just simply leave Jo and Thomas there, knowing what the Council of Guardians are trying to hide from them, as said on pages 236 and 238, “She would long for Matt and his mischief, she thought sadly. And Thomas, so serious and dedicated; she would miss him, too... Thinking of Jo, Kira remembered something. In the confusion and excitement of her father's arrival, it had disappeared from her mind. Now the awareness and the horror came back, and she gasped" and "She knew something else as well, and with the realization, she rose from the damp grass to go indoors, to find her father and tell him that she could not be his eyes. That she must stay.” She wanted to connect the two villages and communities, but it means she would have to stay and continue being restricted, but it does not mean that she is afraid of the land beyond, she was ready to miss the people in the community and to leave them there, but then realization hit her. Where as Jonas in The Giver, he was scared to leave the community, first off he had stolen leftover food and his father's bike, which is a series of transgressions, and on page 165, Lois Lowry shows that he did give the idea of maybe getting a caught a second look. "He thought of the rules he had broken so far: enough that if he were caught, now, he would be condemned,” he was afraid of what will happen if he was caught, he was taught to be restricted in the extent of the community, that he had never thought of this possibility, not to mention he did not know what elsewhere is or what elsewhere was. Kira was not as afraid of the outside of their community or village, because she had her father's word on what there was beyond the place where she grew up, but Jonas has nothing, but his memories to rely on and no one's word to take on what else where really was.

In both dystopian literatures, Gathering Blue and The Giver, Lois Lowry captures the idea of a dystopia, where an illusion of a perfect society is created through control over many things, and how the citizens of the community are restricted and afraid of what is beyond the borders.

Kira was afraid of being taken by beasts, and Jonas was afraid of being released if they found him when he had escaped. Then as the plot goes on, Kira is no longer afraid, but is still restricted to her quarters she calls home. Although Jonas's fear had increased as he went on the journey to find elsewhere, because he had no home, he can't go back and he doesn't know if he keeps on going if there is actually an elsewhere. Whereas Kira can stay at her quarters or follow her dad to the village, so she wasn't afraid, she was just restricted and wanted to do the right thing. And to her, the right thing was to stay and try to join the two communities. In many ways these two pieces of writing both by Lois Lowry, captures the fact of how the citizens are restricted to the boundaries of their community and has a fear of what lays beyond that border, but Kira in Gathering Blue was not as afraid of what is beyond rather than Jonas in The Giver is afraid of what is beyond the borders of his community.


Updated: Nov 16, 2022
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The Dystopian Societies in Lois Lowry's Gathering Blue and The Giver. (2022, Apr 11). Retrieved from

The Dystopian Societies in Lois Lowry's Gathering Blue and The Giver essay
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