The Giver by: Lois Lowry shows a supposed utopian society in the future, where the main character Jonas comes to learn the truth about his society and its inner workings. The Giver is full of different sociological concepts like functionalism, conflict theory, and symbolic interactionism.
Functionalism can be defined as a society that is made of many different parts; each part has a job or a function that must be accomplished to maintain the stability within the society (Henslin 26). Functionalism is part of the macro-social perspective. The macro-social perspective is when sociologists study society in a larger scale. Functionalism plays a big part in The Giver. The civilization has assignments; which are jobs given to the people living there based on their aptitude and personality. For example, Jonasr’s father is given the assignment of a nurturer, where he takes care of newborn children until they are placed with a family. Jonasr’s mother works at the department of justice where she acts as somewhat of a judge or disciplinarian on the people in the community. Each person has a job to do in the community whether it is to be a teacher, landscaper, food deliverer, etc.
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Within the arrangement of jobs there really is not an opportunity for social inequality. Social inequality is when there is an unfairness in opportunities for members of a society based on their social class or status. Even though there is not social inequality in the community, there is a noticeable stigma for the different social classes. For example, the assignment birthmother is seemed to be looked down upon by Jonasr’s family and the rest of the community. When Jonasr’s sister Lily says she wants to be a birthmother because she likes the newborn children, her mother chastises her saying there is little honor in that assignment (Lowry 21). If the person does not do their job or is unable to function in society, they will be released from the community. If someone is not doing their assigned job it creates chaos in the community and the leaders, who are called elders, do not like this. That ties directly into functionalism where maintaining the balance or equilibrium is key to a functioning society. Not only do the job assignments relate to functionalism, but also the basis of everything in the daily lives of the people in the community.
All of the people there are on a strict schedule, and there is a strict set of rules that each person must abide to. There is no uniqueness to the people, they are all neatly groomed and wear the same clothes. It is later found out that they do not see color, so there is an aspect of sameness throughout everything. Because of all uniformity of the people in the community there is the situation of conformity.
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