The Giver is written from the point of view of Jonas, an eleven-year-old boy living in a Utopian society that has eliminated all pain, fear, war, emotion, and hatred. Everyone is extremely polite. The lives of the civilians have a strict schedule and are controlled by the government. The Government also decides the civilian’s spouses, children, and occupations. Each year, a ceremony is held to celebrate the “becoming of age” for children. At the Ceremony of Twelve, Jonas is given the highly honored occupation of becoming the Receiver of Memory for the Community. The Receiver is the only keeper of the community’s memories of the past.
The Giver transmits memories to Jonas’s brain exposing him to the feelings of love, war, hatred, starvation, neglect and etc. As Jonas receives memories from the Giver; he realizes how empty life in his community really is. These memories of the past allow Jonas to become open minded and realize that the lives of the civilians are in total control by the government. He realizes that people are being snatched away from the emotions that make humanity. The memories make Jonas’s life richer and more meaningful, and he wishes that he could give that richness and meaning to his loved ones. Jonas and The Giver discuss how Sameness has gotten rid of individual choice. They also discuss the previous Receiver-in-Training’s failure, which allowed unwanted memories to escape into the community and cause turmoil. He and The Giver decide that he should run away so that the memories can be released into the community. They both hope that the memories can teach the community to regain emotion and wisdom rather than dispose of the meaningful memories that create an individual.
Personally, I really enjoyed the book and the writing style of Lois Lowry. I loved how the author slowly introduced the readers to the situation of life in the Community allowing the reader to comprehend life without color, personal choices and opinions, and emotion. The author slowly introduced the reader into the situation in the novel by showing the reader tiny discoveries Jonas was making until he finally found out that these “discoveries” are actually color and feelings. I like how Jonas slowly became wiser as the novel continued and realized that memories of the past are the only way to return humanity to the Community.
One memorable thing about the book was when Jonas realized that the “blurs” he had been seeing are actually visions of color. This discovery introduced the entire topic of how the Community is actually like. Jonas was able to understand that each object had its own distinct color and that each person was different unlike how the government made all the civilians believe that they were the same. I definitely recommend this book to everyone.
– reviewed by Zainab, grade 8, Twin Hickory Area Library