Representation of the Elderly in Thomas More’s ‘Utopia’ and Lois Lowry’s ‘The Giver’




More, Utopia, dystopias, elderly, Lowry, The Giver


While the first utopias manifested aspirations for a better socio-political system, dystopias typically reflect societal fears and concerns that are intensified by the twentieth century’s political and social crises that, besides other significant turns, have caused a rethinking of the role of the elderly in the society. While, typically, the protagonists of dystopias are very young or middle-aged, they often must interact with the previous generations to achieve their goals, thus providing an exciting field for analysis of how these elderlies are depicted in dystopian novels. The methodology for comparing the treatment of the elderly in Utopia with the treatment of the elderly in Lois Lowry’s The Giver involves literary analysis and a comparison of the specific ways in which the elderly in both works are depicted. Special attention is paid to the specific ways in which they are treated and the roles they are assigned in their respective societies, as well as the level of respect and care they are shown especially at the end of their lives. The characteristic attitude towards the elderly suggested by More in Utopia is masterfully rendered in Lowry’s twentieth-century dystopia, The Giver. The study reveals that the treatment of the elderly has often been discriminatory in More’s work Utopia and is deliberately portrayed as such in Lowry’s novel.

Author Biography

Antra Leine, University of Latvia

Antra Leine (Dr. Phil., Assist. Prof. in Comparative Literature Studies) is currently working at the University of Latvia. Her research interests include Anglophone literature studies, culture and film studies.


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How to Cite

Leine, A. (2023). Representation of the Elderly in Thomas More’s ‘Utopia’ and Lois Lowry’s ‘The Giver’. Baltic Journal of English Language, Literature and Culture, 13, 100–107.