Nearly twenty years before Suzanne Collins’ The Hunger Games
dominated young adult fiction, Lois Lowry created the world of The Giver.
And the teen dystopian craze was born! Lowry was the first to demonstrate that children were capable of wrestling with the same
weighty questions that Orwell, Huxley, and Bradbury presented to adults. The Giver
posits a seemingly utopian world—under a system called Sameness
—that has eliminated inequality, pain, suffering, hunger, overpopulation, and even natural disasters! But the high price of Sameness becomes increasingly clear as hidden truths about the society are revealed to Jonas, the
young hero of the story. The novel causes readers to consider whether the benefits gained in this community are worth the significant sacrifices required to maintain it.
Last week the 7th Grade English students culminated their Giver
unit with formal debates. But rather than presenting an argument from their personal point of view, students portrayed a character from the novel and defended their character’s position. The Committee of Elders argued for their proposition that “Sameness
is best for the community and must be reinstated,” while Jonas and Giver passionately argued the converse.