At first glance, a society without war, heat, or pain seems like a paradise. With everything perfectly planned by the elders, people would never make wrong decisions, since all decisions are considered thoroughly by the elders. Besides, no talents would be wasted, considering that every child enjoys optimal living standards so he/she can maximize his/her potentials. But as the story proceeds, weak points of this “perfect” community begin to emerge.
One example is that the main character, Jonas once said, “we really have to protect people from wrong choices.” He thinks that having the chance to choose for themselves is crucial, but people should never make wrong choices. Nonetheless, is it really essential for us to choose correctly every time when we make decisions? People make decisions everyday; some are made correctly, while others are not. Regardless of right or wrong, all the decisions make us who we are today.
Take my own experiences as one example. I am a person with a unique life story, as I have lived in many different countries, including the U.S.A. and Germany. I have acquired some irreplaceable experiences, such as advancing my English and German speaking skills, learning the cultural differences, and gaining a wide spectrum of the world. But the price of living abroad is that I lost contact with my friends in Taiwan and couldn’t keep up with all the schoolwork after I returned to Taiwan. Even until now, I still feel unsure if going abroad was really the right decision. However, I find encouragement in the insightful words of the American poet and philosopher Ralph Waldo Emerson “For everything you have missed, you have gained something else, and for everything you gain, you lose something else. ” In other words, with every decision we win some and lose some, it’s just like two sides of the same coin. Instead of the decision itself, the most crucial part is the experience we obtain.
Meanwhile, this book gives one further important point. As there is no hatred in the community, neither does love exist. In the novel, all couples are matched up by the elders, and there is absolutely no love among them. Consequently, citizens of this community are unable to understand any kind of human emotion, nor can they feel the joy and sorrow of life. The world in the community is only black-white without colors.
Ｏne such world is apathetic. Despite how enjoyable the experience is, one can never value the moment unless he/she has a memory of the time when suffering from pain.When I first started school in Germany, I could barely understand any German words. It was very challenging for me to make new friends, and school life became tough at first. I felt anxious, helpless, and almost gave up. Fortunately, after months of effort, I finally made it to speak German fluently and could make friends. It was because of the failure I have gone through at the beginning that I could appreciate the joy of successful adaptation and new friendship. For me, the accomplishment comes only with determination and hard work.
Readers may wonder if this is a Utopian or a Dystopian novel. In my view, both apply. For those who simply want a content and easy life without poverty, the community in this novel is a utopia ── a highly structured society without diseases, starvation or criminal actions of any sort. However, for others who would like to live fully human and have their own thoughts and feelings, it is a Dystopia ── life is a humdrum existence with no music, no color, where elders prevent citizens from making independent choices. My viewpoint comes close to the latter position. I treasure the control I own over myself, and believe in the choices I make throughout my life. I cherish the opportunity to love, hate, laugh, and cry. After all, it is these little things that make life beautiful and meaningful.