Looking at power with award-winning YA novel, The Giver by Lois Lowry. Warning: SPOILERS.
Thanks for checking out this month’s vlog. I’ve included discussion questions below. For this vlog, and my bookshelf, I’ve used the Delecorte Press of Random House, Inc. 1993 paperback edition of The Giver. Vlog quote from pages 98-99.
For all the children/ To whom we entrust the future.
Considering the themes of The Giver, what is Lowry trying to say with this dedication? What future is she anticipating?
It was one of the rituals, the evening telling of feelings.
There is power in ritual, as many cultures demonstrate. The world of The Giver has many rituals that at the start seem charming, even quaint. As the story goes on and we learn more about the world, the constant surveillance, the quick consequences for any minor infraction, these rituals take on an insidious quality. Are there cases in our own world where ritual can be used against us?
“If you don’t fit in, you can apply for Elsewhere and be released.”
Built in to this world, full of rules and restrictions, is the soothing background knowledge that if, at any time, you stop liking it, you can stop being a part of it. As the novel unfolds and we learn the true nature of release, and how many members of this society know of it, compliance takes on a different meaning. Do you think those that carry out release know their part in this society? If so, why do they continue with it? If not, how does power wield reality in such a way that its depth is unknown, even to those who are a part of its most corrupt offerings?
“I want my smack!”
We find in the Threes, the youth of society are reprimanded for any misuse of language with corporal punishment. We don’t see violence in the community in any blatant form other than this. What is the significance of having such a strong form of retribution so early in life? Why does Lowry show us this part of society?
Jonas did not want to go back. He didn’t want the memories, didn’t want to honor, didn’t want the wisdom, didn’t want the pain. He wanted his childhood again, his scraped knees and ball games.
In his first real moment of hardship, Jonas recoils and wishes, essentially, to regain his original ignorance. Do you agree with the saying ignorance is bliss? Or that knowledge is power? How do these two statements play off one another? How does it play out in the book? What about in our own society?