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Summary: In a rigidly structured society where weaklings, dissenters and the aged are removed, and stirrings of individuality are nullified with drugs, children undergo special ceremonies annually until, after eleven years, they face the Ceremony of Twelve, when the Community of Elders assigns them the tasks which will take them through their adult life. But when Jonas is selected to be the Receiver of Memory, he discovers that the honor of selection is nothing compared to the loneliness and physical pain he must endure as he searches for a way to free his community from the spiritless life it has developed for its members.
The word utopia comes from the Greek words ou, meaning "no" or "not," and topos, meaning "place." Since its original conception, utopia has come to mean a place that we can only dream about, a true paradise. Dystopia, which is the direct opposite of utopia, is a term used to describe a utopian society in which things have gone wrong.