The Giver is a dystopian novel, and as such might have been influenced by well-known works of the genre that preceded it, including 1984 by George Orwell, Brave New World by Aldous Huxley, and The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood. Dystopian novels often feature intrusive surveillance into citizen's lives that eliminates their privacy. In 1984, citizens are constantly watched through “telescreens” to make sure they do nothing wrong, and in The Handmaid's Tale, secret informers known as “Eyes” spy on members of the society. Similarly, in The Giver, the Elders know all about Jonas and the other children through their scrupulous “observations” and listen in on conversations through “speakers” on the wall. Such levels of surveillance enable authoritarian regimes to monitor every aspect of people's lives and stamp out any disobedience. As soon as anyone does anything against the rules, punishment follows.
In both 1984 and The Handmaid's Tale, the ruling governments attempt to control family and sexual relationships, another feature shared with The Giver. In 1984, children are encouraged to inform on their parents if they do anything wrong, resulting in the parents being sent to prison. This dynamic destroys familial trust and love. In The Handmaid's Tale, the Handmaids are not in charge of their own sexuality and are forced to have sexual relations with men in order to reproduce. Similarly, in The Giver, people are not allowed to choose their own spouses or to raise their own biological children, thus disrupting the typical family unit as we know it today. Although Lowry does not explicitly state whether Birthmothers are allowed to choose their own partners, it seems unlikely that they are, given that the Committee of Elders controls other aspects of people's lives so completely.
In Brave New World, a large part of the government's influence on its citizens comes from the way it controls their emotions through drugs, much like in The Giver. In Brave New World, citizens have ready access to a drug known as “soma” that makes them artificially happy. At one point in the novel, police spray vaporized soma into a crowd on the verge of a riot to alter its mood. Encouraging and indeed forcing people to take soma to raise their mood is a form of social control. Similarly, in The Giver, all citizens of the community past a certain level of maturity take an unnamed drug that controls their emotions and sexual urges. The pills that Jonas receives from his mother when he exhibits signs of “Stirrings” are compulsory and must be taken throughout his adult life. Only when Jonas stops taking the pills does he begin to feel things fully.