The Giver by Lois Lowry

The book The Giver had a great opening that was not at all boring. I found it very interesting to read about the setting of the book. I expect the setting to play a big role in the story as well as the main conflict. One thing that I liked was how the author introduced this fictional society to the reader. There was explanation when necessary, for example, when the evening sharing of feelings was introduced Obviously readers would have no idea what that was, so the author gives a small snippet about it. Then, as the telling of feelings happens, the author lets readers figure out what it is through the dialogue. Plus, in reading about this society’s daily activity, we learn more about the setting. That sort of explanation was something that I noticed the author did throughout the first part of the book and I liked it.

Besides the setting, I also found the characters interesting. They seemed similar to how people would act today. In the book, it says that in their society, the setup of a family is something that is regulated by rules. However, when I was reading about the times that the family was together, I thought that their interaction was not much different than we have today. Finally, the specific character observation that I made was of the main character, Jonas. I noticed that he seems to be generally an extremely normal character, even though strange things happen to him. How I saw it was there is this boy, Jonas, who has nothing about him that is unusual, and he is put in several situations where unusual things occur. It’s as if the author is setting up the story with a “blank slate”, ready to be written on. In the beginning, Jonas is a normal kid that readers can understand with little difficulty. Then he is put in a strict, heavily structured society where he is about to have a big change to his life with the Ceremony of Twelve. I think that Jonas’s “normalness” in the start of the story is going to change later on, maybe even drastically. In the mean time, readers are able to focus on other elements of the story, such as the interesting setting. I predict that is Jonas ever does have a change in his character traits, it will be due to the events that happen to him, and the influence of the restrictive world that he lives in.


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7 responses to “The Giver by Lois Lowry

  1. carmenthomsen

    I enjoyed the beginning as well. I thought it was interesting how the author used the sense of danger and emergency when describing the airplane that flew over their community, it really drew me in. It also made me start thinking about how structured the setting is, in how a sudden aircraft urges the citizens inside. Like you said, I think the setting will play a significant role in the progression of the story. It seems the society in which Jonas is living is extremely strict. Multiple times through out the chapters we read, I kept coming across the word “released”. I believe this to mean some sort of banishment or execution, which is unsettling considering how many time the word in brought up. One can be “released” for simply misunderstanding orders as the pilot did in the first chapter. The society and setting which it seems has been carefully cultivated by their form of government, is oppressing restricting the citizens from having a more diverse lifestyle. That limitation makes every action seems very scripted and dull. Besides the small pleasures that the characters experience, there seems to be no imagination. I predict that Jonas will go through some sort of eye-opening situation which will trigger a lust for a more colorful existence, which will ultimately conflict with the Elder’s view on the ideal, strict society.

  2. whitleyyp

    In the last post, you said that Jonas would go through an eye opening experience. Well, I definitely think that Jonas receiving memories from the Giver might be that experience. In addition to that, there were also a lot of interesting things in the 2nd quarter of the book.
    The author’s writing at the end of chapter 7 was very relatable. As I read about Jonas’s name not being called, and the distress it cause, I could imagine how he felt. You could really tell that it was something that was so fearful, to not know what you could have done wrong, especially in a society like the one Jonas lives in. Overall, I also thought it was very genuine how the author included descriptive reactions that Jonas had to his unique assignment.
    The other portion of this section that I found interesting was of course, the time Jonas spent with the Giver. It was such a strange experience to read when Jonas was seeing the snow for the first time. To readers, it is something that is so familiar. Secondly, something that had even more of an impact (probably the most of anything in the section) was when the Giver was talking about the past, and the changes that had taken place in the world. Jonas couldn’t even comprehend the world outside of his community, he only has ever thought of it as “Elsewhere”.
    That reminded me, of something I read in a history textbook about slavery. It stated that to control slaves, owners would keep slaves as ignorant as possible, treating them like children. They only knew the life that they lived on plantations, only had the things that the owner provided them with. Many generations spent their entire life that way.
    In a similar way, Jonas only knows what life and community has provided him with. Although he has certain things provided for him, he doesn’t have freedom because life in the community doesn’t give anything but “sameness”.
    The fact that life in the community doesn’t give it’s people freedom was further proved when the Giver started talking about “climate control” and “Sameness” of hills. Actually, reading that was a bit scary. It is one thing to have a strict society for people, but to even manipulate the environment to remove all vibrancy – that is frightening.
    These points of the book left me with such an impact, that I now see why this book is so important. It can really remind readers of the importance of personal, human rights, and the value in a unique and vivid existence.
    Regarding the prediction that Jonas would go through an eye-opening experience; I think that the Giver’s memories were just that. (In fact, just in reading the description of snow in contrast to the dull community, I even found myself wanting a more colorful life.) I also think that after seeing the Giver’s memories, Jonas will never be the same again, and will start to reject the community of “sameness” and be intrigued by the memories of the Giver.

  3. carmenthomsen

    I like the analogy that you made with slavery – because it’s true. Jonas and his community are being starved of the indulgences our world has to offer. From the beauty in an uneven mountain range to the simple wonder of a snowy day. Jonas’ community has a very utilitarian system built around order and, as mentioned, “sameness”. I can see how one would want equality to end injustice and discrimination, but instead of eradicating diversity, we should celebrate and accept it.
    I also really love how snow caused such an impact. This scene was almost a reminder to step back and appreciate the small luxuries. Life without these seemingly mundane things would be rather dull, don’t you think? I am interested in what new memories Jonas will experience, and I agree that he will begin to realize that there is so much more to life than what they have been living.

  4. whitleyyp

    This quarter of the book was interesting, and I think that the book is moving along at a good pace. The things that stood out to me in this chapter were how Jonas responded to being introduced to pain and emotion, and of course, Jonas giving the memories to Gabriel.

    I think that as Jonas was introduced to pain, we saw him become hesitant to the “vibrant” style of living. After receiving the war memory, Jonas is reluctant,

    “Jonas did not want to go back. He didn’t want the memories, didn’t
    want the honor, didn’t want the wisdom, didn’t want the pain. He
    wanted his childhood again, his scraped knees and ball games. He
    sat in his dwelling alone, watching through the window, seeing
    children at play, citizens bicycling home from uneventful days at
    work, ordinary lives free of anguish because he had been selected,
    as others before him had, to bear their burden” (121).

    This was one of the most telling quotes for me. I think that it connects to how people who choose to live differently than how society tells them feel. For example, if someone was an activist, protester, or a revolutionary, they would be very devoted to their cause. Yet, they might still feel isolated. After experiencing the discomfort or pain they may have to go through to bring change, part of them may be wanting to go back to the familiar comfort that they have always known, even if it is in exchange for injustice. This may have been Jonas’s thoughts too. Although he had come to know the joyful parts of life in the memories, the pain was difficult to deal with. So while he remembered his childhood, it was hard for him to embrace the memories that contrasted with his familiar life.

    Other than that, Jonas seems to still be interested in the memories and new emotions he feels. At one point, after Jonas stops taking the pills, it seems that Jonas reached turning point, “he knew he couldn’t go back to the world of no feelings that he had lived in so long”(131). You predicted that Jonas will be unable to return to his non-vibrant life and I definitely think that he has reached that point.

    Lastly, there is the issue of Jonas giving his pleasant memories to Gabriel. In a way, I see it a symbolic. Jonas is giving the memories to Gabriel, therefore, passing on vibrancy to someone. It’s as if he is trying to start a change by putting it in someone else. Overall, I don’t have any comment on the situation, other than what may happen. I predict that it may present some kind of conflict in the last portion of the book, and it is dangerous for both Jonas and Gabriel. With all of the events in this quarter, the book is obviously building up, and I can’t wait to see what will happened next.

  5. carmenthomsen

    I was very interested in the first quote you selected as well, although my thought process what a bit different. For me it brought up the question: What would life be with out sadness? If pain did not exist, what would joy be? I believe the story will touch on these topics as we read on.

    From personal experience, I have come to the conclusion to not focus on the negativities that arise in life. It seems like such a simple idea, but I think this is what Jonas needs to recognize. Yes, unfortunately there is a heavy amount of terrible things in the world and it is important to recognize these things, but from these complications people are able to grow and mature into a new being.

  6. carmenthomsen

    Sorry, I accidentally pressed send before I finished!

    I believe that the one of the lessons in the novel is to live life to it’s fullest. I know that sounds cliche, but it is easy to see that from the dull, monotonous life that many of the citizens are living, they are obviously missing something. There is so much beauty in the world and that is what Jonas, and society as a whole, needs to remember, especially when they have to endure a painful or depressing experience.

  7. whitleyyp

    The Giver – 8/10
    “The Giver” by Lois Lowry is a compelling novel written about a fictional oppressive society ruled by “same-ness”. The main character, Jonas has grown up in this world. Although this society doesn’t give any vibrancy, it manages to provide stable lives free from pain that Jonas, his family, and the other residents see as pleasant. However, the story of Jonas changes when he discovers the secrets of the outside world, “Elsewhere”, and learns of memories from the past that change his outlook. As the novel progresses, readers follow the new feelings that Jonas experiences and the animosity towards his society that forms within him. Overall, this book is the story of how the vision of a sheltered boy changes when the previously disregarded past comes back into view.

    This novel was unique because of the author’s style. Unlike other novels written about an oppressive future society, “The Giver” is not action-packed or thrilling. Instead, it is simplistically narrated. The way that the book is written combined with the events that unfold reflects the main character. In the same way that Jonas looks at things, both as a young boy and as someone who has only ever known a bland reality, the book is written with plainly and uncluttered. Due to this style, the readers fall into the quiet yet fateful world of Jonas. This turns the book into a unique read.

    In addition to the unique style, there was also the intriguing setting that makes this book a thoughtful story. The community that Jonas lives in is eerily bland. Yet, at the same time it provides a safe life for it’s residents. Also, because the residents are isolated and live without any true joy or pain, they have no emotions. So readers are to ask, is a life free from pain worth living if, at the same time, no real love or joy is experienced either? This question presents itself through the events and makes this book one that makes one think about the value of emotions like love in society versus the value of comfort. Thinking about these things while reading is part of what makes this book fascinating.

    In addition to the style, setting, and thoughtfulness of “The Giver”, the final reason why this book is unique and memorable is that it simply has a good story. It is definitely one that keeps a reader reading. Combined with the other positive points of this book, it is truly a compelling novel that anyone who likes thoughtful stories should surely read.

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