The Giver

Essay by PaperNerd ContributorCollege, Undergraduate September 2001

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The Giver, by Lois Lowry, is a novel about unique identify and the importance thereof. Jonas, the young adult protagonist, lives in a town of Sameness. There are not problems of any kind. Choices are nonexistent. All of the arrangements of town are decided by the governing powers. Their age levels determine the townspeople's ability. For instance, when the children turn one, they are given their names. This is the first step to acquiring their identity. As the years progress, the people receive another component of their lives. However, none of these decisions are dependent on what the desires of each individual. The most important year, twelve, is the year where the "community assignments" are revealed. Jonas receives the assignment "the receiver". This is thought to be the assignment with the highest regard and community stature. As Jonas begins his training, where he works with the current receiver, who is now referred to as the giver, he accepts the responsibilities and their repercussions because he feels that he has to.

The exchange that is taking place between "the Giver" and "the Receiver" are the transmission of memories. These memories eventually lead Jonas to the realization that people in his community are missing out on the benefits of having choices.

If the novel were to be read through the typical approach when dealing with young adults (reading two or so chapters at a time) then the students may initially have a difficult time getting into it. However, by reading larger chunks or perhaps by reading the novel in its entirety prior to discussion the outcomes may be greater. Seeing the progression of the novel is a strong way to develop discussion surrounding the various themes of the novel.

The Giver is a phenomenal book. I can honestly say that it is one of the few novels that should always be included on a school curriculum. It teaches individuality, responsibility, and the majority of the other Wake County Public School System character traits. If I taught the grade level that used this novel, it would be an introductory piece. I would use it at the beginning of the school year as a blueprint or a model for every other literary text that would be used throughout the year. There are so many minor elements that are referenced throughout the remainder of the school year that are captured within this one novel.