Divergent Dystopias: An Analysis of Power Relations and Resistance in Lois Lowry’s The Giver and Gathering Blue

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Kris Iamharit
Subenja Phaolaungthong


The research, employing Michel Foucault’s “The Subject and Power,” aims to examine power relations and resistance in Lois Lowry’s dystopian societies in The Giver and Gathering Blue. Though the societies are portrayed in wildly diverging ways, scientifically advanced in the Giver and relatively primitive in Gathering Blue, both are governed by local oligarchies. Foucault’s five points which are crucial to the concrete establishment of power relations: the system of differentiations, objectives, means of bringing power relations into being, forms of institutionalization and the degrees of rationalization are explored in these two young adult dystopias in order to illustrate power relations in the societies, the objectification which transforms individuals into subjects, and forms of resistance. In The Giver, the protagonist chooses to escape from the totalitarian society in which he lives while the protagonist in Gathering Blue decides to undermine the oppressive regime and negotiate her identity from within. Even though the regimes are not completely overthrown, the young recalcitrant protagonists inspire adolescent readers to stand up and fight for a better future.


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