The Handmaid’s Tale and The Giver
One of my absolute favorite books from childhood is The Giver by Lois Lowry. Does anyone else see any connections between The Giver and The Handmaid’s Tale?
The society in The Giver appears to be utopian at first, but then gradually appears to be more and more dystopian. Each individual is assigned a job, husbands are matched with wives and only allowed 2 children per family unit: one boy and one girl, to keep the genders even. And the children are produced by girls designated to be “birthmothers” and family units have to “apply” for children. In the society, all emotions are suppressed. Beginning at puberty, everyone takes a pill to suppress any feelings of love or sexuality, called “stirrings”. Essentially, the society strives for “sameness,” which is absent of all violence, sadness, prejudice etc… and consequently, there are no such things as color or music or joy, as well. The main character is given the role as “the giver” who stores all the memories and emotions of the time before “sameness.” In this society, there is also minimal technology- no televisions or radio- except for 2 way microphone/speaker systems for announcements, and surveillance. Transportation is limited to bicycles, although there’s mention of cars and airplanes mainly for the transportation of food.
Even in hypothetical fictional societies which seem to reject the mainstream uses of technology, technology is still very much present. What does that say about the necessity for technology? While people are forced into these strict roles, they themselves are becoming a form of technology (such as the birthmothers in The Giver or the handmaids in The Handmaid’s Tale).