Cause and Effect When Drawing the Line between Public Safety and Personal Freedom
The line between public safety and personal freedom is always thin. In most societies, the struggle to maintain the balance is evident. Giving one side more importance over the other always leads to a skewed society with problems. This is evidence in the novel “The Giver” by Lois Lowry. This is a society, which has chosen to give public safety preeminence over personal freedom. In so doing, they create a sameness society in which the individuals do not think for themselves, therefore, losing their personal freedom. The aim of this essay is to explain why we should sacrifice an orderly community to allow individuals more spiritual or sensually satisfying experiences based on the lessons Jonas learned in “The Giver.”
When Jonas became the new receiver, he gets an opportunity to interact with the giver. The Giver explains to Jonas the reason they have a sameness society: that was to be safe from pain and suffering caused by human emotions and to avoid the adverse climatic conditions. As a result, the people become robotic which causes them to obey the rules and regulations given by the elders. They are also unable to experience the different weather conditions such as snow..”However, with taking the bad out they did not leave much good either”(Angela Johnson, Jeffrey Kleismit, Antje Williams 2002). The effects of their choice will form the basis for defending the essay statement
One of the lessons Jonas learns is that the people have no emotions. This hurts the society in that there is murder without remorse. This is evidence by Jonas father who kills one of the twins. He carries out the murder since it is the law of the society. Due to the sameness of the society, he does not question the action, as he does not think for himself. This is an effect that is as a result of the choice of the society to eliminate human emotions. This action goes to show that it is important to have personal freedom, which allows one to think. Had this been the case, the society would not have condoned the murder of innocent babies.
In addition to this, Jonas learns about snow and the joy it brings when riding on a sled. This was possible for him since upon taking up his duty, he received memories of different climates. The Giver tells him that snow destroys crops hence the need for its elimination. However, the strong memory of riding on a sled shows him that good can come out of something bad. It is, therefore, without a doubt, to say that it is important to sacrifice an orderly community to enable an individual to have sensual, satisfying experiences. This is because the children of this society would be able to enjoy themselves when it snowed.
Moreover, Jonas learns of the pain and sorrow brought by war and destruction. That enables him to know the importance of family and love for family, which is something that is lacking in this society, which allows the murder of individuals like Rosemary in what they term ‘releasing.’ This emphasizes the importance of having human emotions among individuals that will enable them to make informed decisions as opposed to blindly following instructions. The community has thus endured a great loss by giving their memories away. This is also clear evidence in the reply he receives from Fiona when he talks about love (Lowry 1993). She terms love as something obsolete. This shows why we should sacrifice an orderly community to allow individuals more spiritual or sensually satisfying experiences.
On top of this, Jonas learns the importance of individuals having their memories back. This prompts him to leave his society so that those remaining could obtain their memories. This realization comes because of having experienced the emotions of love, joy and happiness together with sadness and pain, which changed his way of thinking. This showed him that the rest also needed to experience the same so that they may learn how dissatisfying their life under sameness was. This is important in that these emotions are what makes human beings have humanity and, therefore, make well-informed decisions that are well thought out and not robotic in nature.
Another lesson Jonas learns is that the sun is a source of both pleasure and pain. Jonas experiences the warmth of the sun when the giver places his hand on Jonas’ back. Jonas can feel the pleasure through this warmth he receives. This is a feeling that is new to him since the society in which he lives in uses climate control. By so doing, the society valued their public safety more than their person freedom. This, however, has an adverse effect on them since they are now not able to experience the pleasure from the sun’s warmth. This advertently shows that it is essential to sacrifice an orderly community for the sake of an individual’s sensual experience.
Finally, Jonas also learns that the same sun causes pain in the form of sunburns. This illustration gives both the positive and negative effect of things. This is important for this society, which chose to have sameness by considering the negative effects of things such as snow. This lesson is crucial for any society, in that most cases something will have both positive and negative effects. This should, therefore, enable them to consider both the public safety and personal freedom such that one does not adversely affect the other.
Benjamin Franklin said, “They who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety”(Houston, 2008). The society in which Jonas lives permanently chooses safety and, in essence, is neither free nor safe. On one hand, rules and regulations replace their freedom and on the other hand, murder (release) replaces their safety. This is a clear indication that it would be better to have had their memories and emotions and, therefore, learn their mistakes from them than where they ended up being.
In the end, we should draw the line between public safety and personal freedom the moment people stop making their decisions and start obeying rules without critical thought. (Angela Johnson, Jeffrey Kleismit, Antje Williams).
BIBLIOGRAPHY Angela Johnson, Jeffrey Kleismit,Antje Williams. “Grief Thought & Appreciation: Re-evaluating our values through the Giver.” The Alan Review (2002).
Houston, Alan. Franklin: The Autobiography and other Writings on Politics, Economics and Virtue. New York: UP, 2008.
Lowry, Lois. The Giver. Boston, Massachusetts: Houghton Mifflins, 1993.
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