Science, Technology and Lois Lowry's The Giver

The Giver by Lois Lowry (Amazon Link)

While The Giver may be considered a futuristic novel due to it’s utopian setting, the role of science and technology takes a back seat to the larger issues of conformity and euthanasia. There are few mentions of technological advances—one that makes all people see in shades of grey. We know this because the Giver tells Jonas that the red hair of his friend Fiona must drive the geneticists crazy since everyone is supposed to be the same.

We also learn about another Twelve who has made significant advances in the field of healing. But anymore than this—it’s not like other futuristic novels or films where the characters ride in hovercrafts or have gadgets that do everything for them. On the contrary, it seems that in technological advances as we would generally think of them, the community has regressed. All of its people ride bicycles and are communicated with via loudspeaker. Their existence is not electronic heavy as ours is.

Additionally, it seems that there are not many illnesses, if any, within the community. Another technological advance on the part of the geneticists. People are engineered in such a way that they do not have to deal with any pain and suffering.

In other futuristic novels, like A Wrinkle in Time, the real world is one where scientists have discovered how to fold time onto space. In my favorite futuristic novel, M.T. Anderson’s Feed, which deals with issues of consumerism, people ride the hovercrafts and the internet is internally hardwired into people from a young age. Neither of the worlds in these novels is particularly simplistic.

Anderson, M.T. (2002). Feed. Cambridge: Candlewick Press.
L’Engle, M. (1962). A Wrinkle in Time. New York: Dell Yearlilng.
Lowry, L. (1993). The Giver. St. Paul, MN: EMC/Paradigm Publishing.

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