The Giver by Lois Lowry, 7/10

The Giver by Lois Lowry is a science fiction novel that describes a utopian society, a flawless world without pain, war, hunger, or feelings.  From the outfits they wear, to the jobs they are assigned as twelve year olds, everything is decided under the control of the Elders, and there is no room for individuality. The main character, Jonas, is assigned the honorable role as the Receiver of Memories. His trainer, The Giver, is the only person in the community who holds knowledge or memories of true feelings and life experiences from the past. Through Jonas’ training with the Giver, the boy realizes that the community he lives in is not as perfect as it seems. With the knowledge he was given, Jonas understood both the favorable and harmful aspects in life, and saw that everyone around him lives a colorless, dull life with no choice in anything. Jonas believes that it is his destiny to return the memories to the members of his community, and sets out on a journey to bring them back.

I found Lois Lowry’s choice to avoid literary devices in the depictions of the community versus the inclusion of elaborate language in scenes with the Giver an accurate emphasis on the difference between the artificial utopian community and the reality of the memories of the past. Though the community is described in a bland and monotonous manner, it still grasps the attention of the reader and holds them in suspense. Lois Lowry left plenty of open air for individual interpretation of the book; whether it was an advantage or disadvantage to live in an artificial, unified society, and the pros and cons that come with knowledge.

I would suggest this book to any reader that is interested in science fiction, and is willing to be satisfied with unanswered questions.  One must be a mature thinker who can see beyond the captivating details of an imaginary world to understand the psychological questions that are raised in the book about responsibility, pleasures and burdens that come with knowledge, individuality and freedom. Students in Freshman Honors English will benefit from reading this thought provoking novel.

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