Wednesday, September 30, 2009

The Giver by Lois Lowry

I havent really thought about The Giver since I first read it in middle school. That is through no fault of the book though. I really didnt like the book back then simply because I hated every book I was made to read in school. I do remember though that it was very touching, I may have cried at the end when he decided to take Gabe with him and escape. That having been said, I am sure thinking about it now. I had no idea really what I was missing out on while I was just going through the motions back in fifth grade and I am really glad that I have been given the opportunity to go back and revisit this book. That having been said, I have to say that despite not being awake the first time through, I am so much more disturbed this time around that I was last time and a little creeped out to be honest. Really I do not remember having it ever occur to me that being "released" meant dying. Actually, it seems a little silly, but even as I read it this time I guess that I figured people who were released got to go off into the real world. That is until we really talked about it in class, and of course when Jonas begins to suspect what it means. The idea of this though, that because you do not fit into their perfect world, you must not be worthy of living. It reminds of the holocaust actually. Think about it, Hitler thought that anyone who did not fit into his view of what a perfect society was, they shouldn't be allowed to exist. It wasn't just Jewish people either, it was homosexuals and gypsies and a whole bunch of other people who were persecuted just because they didn't fit into his view. Something else that I thought about was just what it must be like to live in a world without color. I don't just think its because I have an art specialization that I simply cant picture this, it is as a person that the thought depresses me. Very much like in the move Pleasentville, before it was turned up side down, it was boring. Think about experiencing it for the first time like Jonas did with the apple. On another semi-related note, why an apple in the first place? I think I smell a Biblical reference here. Apples are the forbidden fruit, just as seeing things in color is forbidden in Jonas' world. I don't think it is any wonder the first forbidden object and the first flash of taboo color is the original forbidden fruit.

There is just so much to talk about with this book that I don't even know what else to say about it. It makes my head spin. To sum up though, would I read this in my classroom? Absolutely. There is just so much to discuss here and so much to understand that I don't know how I could not.


  1. Wow, I really appreciated this post because you explained how you percieved some of the aspects of the story and its interesting to see how people interpret ideas differently. I never would have made the connection between this community and the holocaust but it makes a lot of sense. The people in Jonas's community were trained and brought up in a way that "releasing" was just a part of life. I agree with you that Hitler "released" people because they were different just like this society in the Giver did. This connection made me really sad. I think about how different and unique people are, and how our society should be more accepting of others even today. This book has so many important themes and elements to discuss and I think that knowing what we know now about the book, we should definitely incorporate The Giver into our reading curriculum.

  2. I agree with you completely about a lot of the things that you said. I had the same experience reading this book in 7th grade, as I just went through the motions. But reading it again, I realized that there is so much there. Like Kayla said I never would have made the connection to the holocaust, but I think that was very insightful of you and makes a lot of sense. I think it also connects not only to the holocaust but also to other events and happenings around the world and in our country. That is what makes this book so relevant, is that it connects to the constant human struggle to coexist. Diversity can be such a struggle, and you would think that sameness would make things easier, but this book really proves that point wrong. This is just as important of a message and discussion now as it was when this book was written, and I think it will continue to be so in 50 years. I think that is why it should be included in our curriculum.