The Making of a Perfect World, Part 2: The Giver

GiverThe Giver by Lois Lowry

“We don’t dare let people make choices of their own…We really have to protect people from wrong choices.”


In my previous article, I talked about Utopia by Sir Thomas More and the concept of utopian societies. Utopia was More’s attempt to critique some of the problems in his society and put forth a challenge for reform, but many of the ideas proposed in his story are far-fetched and impractical. From More’s work, a lot of other utopian and dystopian literature developed and dystopian fiction and films are continually being written.

Dystopia happens to be one of my favorite genres of fiction. So here’s the funny thing: I’m sometimes accused of being a perfectionist by people who know me well, but for some reason, I enjoy reading stories of societies which are far from perfect, even though they were established with that intention. I think I like these stories because as a “perfectionist” I’m also a fixer. If I see something amiss, or something that I think could be improved upon, I just have to jump in and try to remedy the situation. So I can relate to the story characters that see the problems in their culture and are not content to just accept it and go along with society. I also admire characters who are determined to fight evil and injustice, even when it means defying the culture they live in. Continue reading “The Making of a Perfect World, Part 2: The Giver”

The Making of a Perfect World, Part 1: Utopia

Utopia by Sir Thomas More

“The source of happiness is much disputed, among all people, in Utopia.” – Thomas More
 
“They who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety.” – Benjamin Franklin


One of my favorite genres of literature is dystopia, but before I talk about dystopian fiction, let’s take a look at its predecessor. Most people are familiar with the term utopia, which originated with the fictional work by Thomas More published in 1516. Utopia was written shortly after the discovery of the New World, an event which stimulated the human imagination and brought with it a sense of new possibilities. It can be considered the first English science fiction, as the story describes an unreal place (located in the New World) which could be real (at least hypothetically) in the future. More’s imaginative society represents an ideal one in which many social problems are controlled or eliminated, such as war, crime and poverty, yet its plans for social improvement are in many ways impractical. Ironically, and significantly, the word utopia can literally be translated as “good place” or “no place,” suggesting that the author acknowledged that there is no such thing as a perfect society. Continue reading “The Making of a Perfect World, Part 1: Utopia”