During Theatre class a few years ago, my friend introduced me to an incredible book. Short but intriguing, The Giver remains one of my favorite reads.
The Giver takes pace in a community where everything is perfect. There is no pain, suffering, or war; everyone is assigned a role in the community that matches their interests. The protagonist, Jonas, is selected to be the receiver of memory, a daunting task to collect past memories from the Giver, and use them to help govern the society.
At first, the Giver only shows Jonas good memories: he shows him memories of love, family, and even the concept of color. Jonas is overwhelmed by not only the beauty of the world but also by the complexity of human life. He can’t fathom why the community would want nothing to do with it.
Later, however, the Giver introduces dark memories of pain, suffering, and the agony of war. Once possessing this knowledge, Jonas understands a terrible truth: the community was built upon principles that valued the absence of pain rather than the virtues of love. The community forfeited all emotions, both good and bad, to obtain a middle ground void of everything.
One of the most heart wrenching moments in the book was when Jonas asked his father if he loved him. Jonas’s father, empty of all emotions, couldn’t understand the question. Jonas was then asked not to use the word love again, because it caused confusion within the community.
What do you guys think about this? If the United States somehow injected us with a serum that caused all feelings to vanish, would it be a good or bad thing?
Or would it be a feeling at all?