In the book The Giver, by Lois Lowry, main character Jonas lives in a community where everything is perfect. Or at least the community is perfect to everybody else but Jonas. When Jonas becomes the new Receiver of Memories, he realizes how many wonderful things his community is missing. He learns there is no color, music, love, family, and many more things. Throughout the whole book, it could be argued that the world Jonas lives is a dystopia or a utopia because it has qualities from both of them, but in the end one has to outweigh the other.
From one point of view, Jonas's community could be seen as a wonderful utopia. Their community has amazing technology and scientists who found out ways to eliminate all disease, illness, and real pain. They might get a scrape from time to time, but never a broken bone. They also have no real emotions. While this might seem like a bad thing, this also can be seen as a good thing. If they have no love, there can be no heartbreak. Heartbreak can lead to jealousy, which can lead to violent actions, so the communities scientists countered that with pills. Every adult in the community takes pills for "the Stirrings" once a day to eliminate all feelings of love towards one another. There is also no real anger in the community because everyone follows the rules, so no one does something to upset one another. If they do say something rude, it is always required to apologize to that person. The people in the community also have no freedom of choice. Most people would see this as a bad thing, but if the citizens have no freedom of choice, they can't make the wrong choice. Jonas understands that people could make wrong choices when he says, “Definitely not safe,” Jonas said with certainty. “What if they were allowed to choose their own mate? And chose wrong?" (Pg. 98) The elders have everything laid out for you, like assigned spouses, assigned jobs, and assigned children. They do this so everything goes perfect, and their community goes all according to plan. They also control the number of children a family can have so they don't overpopulate. Lastly, scientists figured out a way to convert everything to "Sameness". They found a way to convert every race into one to eliminate discrimination over ethnicity. They also eliminated religion so nobody fought over religious beliefs. Overall, there are a lot of qualities that make Jonas's community a dystopia.
From a different point of view, Jonas's community can be received as a crumbling dystopia. First off, they don't teach the students anything related to the world's history. In fact, nobody really knows any of the world's history except the Giver. What would happen if the Giver was gone? How would they know what mistakes civilizations made if they didn't know that there were previous civilizations other than theirs? It would be chaos, and they would eventually die off. There is also no real recreation, or anything fun to do. Everything is always routine, and there is never any time to bring relief and enjoyment to their usually strict lifestyle. There is no music, no holidays, no art, and no competitive sports. It is truly a bland world. Additionally, most things that contribute towards a utopia can also contribute towards a dystopia. If you have assigned spouses, children, and jobs, there is no freedom of choice. Therefore, there is no way to make your own life, because it is already made for you. Also, if you take the pills for the Stirrings and have no emotions, you can't have any feelings for others. Jonas first learns of the stirrings when his mother says, “Jonas,” she said with a smile, “the feeling you described as the wanting? It was your first Stirrings." (Pg. 37) Love is non existent, so you don't have the feeling of being cared for or having a family that loves you. They don't even know what love feels like. Lastly, the whole idea of "release" is just a flawed concept. It is a too harsh way to deal out punishment. If you make a mistake, they shouldn't kill you for it. They additionally release people who are dead weight to the community. They would most commonly release elders and unhealthy newborns. Overall, there are also many distinctions that make Jonas's community a dystopia.
In conclusion, there are more things in Jonas's community that make it a dystopia than a utopia. Their community is just too flawed to be considered a proper utopia.