Lowry, Lois.1993.THE GIVER. New York:
The Giver describes a teenager, at the age of twelve, Jonas, who becomes
the receiver of memories shared by only one other person in his community and discovers the truth about the society where
he lives. The history of the world is in the mind of one person, The Giver, who
has the memories of both the pleasure and pain of life.
The society depicted
in the story is utopian, which is very abnormal from what we are used to.
The society has chosen
to move toward Sameness, having no choices, pain, warfare, or starvation. Of
course this life appears to be quite nice in the beginning. However, as the story
progresses, it becomes evident that this world of no worries is anything but.
If any member of
this Samed society does not comply with its rules, they are “released” from the community (it becomes evident
that released means put to death). The people are defined by their roles as birth
mothers, caretakers, nurturers, laborers, and givers. The roles are designed
to each member’s personality. Any citizen who is thought of as unproductive
is killed by the government.
Color plays an important
role in the story. No one other than Jonas and the former Giver are allowed to
see color. Once Jonas begins to see color, he becomes to see how necessary it
is that others are led free from the sameness.
The government determines
how many children per children. In the House of the Old, leaders decide when
a person is to be put to death. When twins are born, the smaller twin is put
to death by lethal injection.
The topics of lethal
injection and euthanasia explained in the story may critics questioning whether or not the novel is appropriate for young
readers. A ten year old girl in the story chooses euthanasia when she is faced
with becoming The Giver. This sends a very interesting and maybe even frightening
message to young readers. The idea of killing oneself to change circumstances
in life becomes an option.
The story is told
through the eyes of Jonas, a twelve year old, who realizes that he must change the way his society lives. Jonas, is considered to be the protagonist in the story, determined to make good of the situation and give
the people vision and ability to feel pain and warmth. When I finished reading
the novel, I began to think about how some people may feel before they commit suicide. Lowry’s
story helps the reader to think about the importance of living and enjoying life and other people.
Although the Sameness
society described in the story is truly fiction, the idea of killing and warfare are very real. The novel is categorized as contemporary realism. Of course,
it is fits the mold also due to the controversy. For these reasons, I would take
Tunnel and Jacob’s advise and read this book with my children and talk about the factors of death and lethal injection