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Courtesy The Weinstein Company

Jonas struggled in earnest to make it to the top of the snow covered hill.  His focus so intent that the cold stillness of the weight strapped to his chest never even registered. The only hint that something had changed was the sled.  Jonas could not believe that he had made it to the top of the hill, but sitting on it’s red surface gave him the distinct impression that something good was just out of reach.  As he started moving downhill with increasing speed the brightly colored lights he remembered with feelings of warmth and love filled his eyes.  Jonas slipped sideways into the deep snow unburdened at last comforted by the colors which danced just out of reach in the encroaching darkness.

In a wind tinted the color of memories the snowflakes drifted back and back and back towards his community sounding distinctly like change.

*******

It had been six months and the ‘Community’ was past the tipping point.  Though requests for release no longer arrived hourly there was still at least one a week that was off the plan, and the Bureau of Genetic Welfare had noticed.  For weeks the Bureau had been holding brainstorming sessions filled with genetically pure in their white lab coats, but no solution had been put forward.

Amanda had been silent as the proceedings went on around her still slightly in shock from the violent upheaval Jonas and his predecessor had wrought upon the ‘Community’.  It might have seemed naive to the elders at the table but somewhere in their mess was the answer she was sure of it.  A silence in the room extended as the screen showed the young Caretaker of the Old Fiona being released.

“Well sameness isn’t the answer,” Amanda said quietly as she rubbed the bridge of her nose pointlessly trying to erase the image of Fiona’s blank stare. 

“Excuse me?”

In the silence Amanda’s voice had traveled to the panel’s table at the front of the room, and now one of the oldest and most respected GPs was looking right at her.

“Well I just meant that we already knew genetically forcing everyone to be the same was a bad idea…that’s why were here right?” When no one responded Amanda felt obligated to continue.  “Sameness, while not genetic, did the same thing; try to force everybody into one box.  Humans aren’t built that way.  We thrive on labels and choices.  If the failure of the ‘Community’ showed us anything its that.”

“How so?”

This time Amanda didn’t even take a moment to think before responding.  “You gave them ONE choice, and they choose the hell out of it.  Assisting in a 12 year old’s suicide is NOT okay.” She made it a point to make direct eye contact with each panel member.

“Step forward miss…”

“Ritter.  My name is Amanda Ritter.

“Well Ritter all you have done is lodge complaints have you anything of worth to add?”

The smug look on the older woman’s face set Amanda’s teeth on edge and made her stand a little more upright.  “Incorporate choice, or at least the illusion of it.  Allow for differences and feelings that way they will want nothing more than to belong and fear being let go. People are different in useful ways; some are smart and logical, others selfless and helpful, and some are strong and brave…like Jonas.  Your ‘Community’ ignored that, to its detriment.”

Amanda sat down unsure what else to do.  It sounded right, or at least better.  A community divided into factions working towards a goal with passion had to be better than a mindless united one working towards nothing.  Maybe she would even volunteer this time, if they really tried to get it right that is.

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*******

So…I recently read both The Giver and the Divergent trilogy and I couldn’t help but see some similarities.  First, isolated communities without a collective memory, which includes why they have isolated themselves.  Secondly, a child’s future being decided very early in life, 16 or younger.  Also the fact that there was very little choice, even in divergent where choice was made so important it really didn’t exist (ie if I make you choose between 5 options I decided on how much of it is actually up to you?).  The idea of an outside presence that is not fully understood by the inhabitants.  The fact that parents were not necessary after the child had reached his/her decision point.  Finally, the need for sacrifice in face of true freedom.

Maybe its just me…but in case its not here is my fan fiction take on how The Giver proceeds Divergent in a single dystopian future.

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