How Lowry Develops the Theme of Emotion in "The Giver"

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How Lowry Develops the Theme of Emotion (888 words)
Emotions are an integral part of human life. Positive emotions can reward our existence and negative emotions can warn us against things we dislike. By understanding both pleasure and pain, we can contrast them to one another, allowing us to experience both in full. In Lois Lowry’s book The Giver, the characters live in a community where emotions are almost numbed to non-existence in an attempt to achieve the perfect societal structure of a utopia. By depicting a community in which emotions are not a part of life, Lowry shows the importance of emotion in helping people fully appreciate life, individualizing them and empowering them to do amazing things. Emotion allows people to fully appreciate life. The Giver community has removed pain from the lives of its residents and has taken away from one of the core values of life. No matter how pleasurable an experience is, its value cannot be truly appreciated unless one has experienced pain. This affects the Giver community greatly as they do not feel pain and thus cannot fully appreciate the joyful experiences of life. Their lives are hollow and meaningless; monotonous and devoid of any form of emotional variation. An example of this is when Lily says that she is angry at the telling of feelings. Jonas realizes that anger is not what Lily felt, merely shallow impatience and exasperation. He knows because in the memories he had “experienced injustice and cruelty, and he had reacted with rage that welled up so passionately inside him that the thought of discussing it calmly at the evening meal was unthinkable” (p.132). Also, as the people of the community cannot fully appreciate life, they do not grieve about death. The release of elders and infants alike are not mourned but instead celebrated. This is shown when Larissa, the old woman Jonas bathes at the house of the old, describes the release of a fellow elder as “wonderful” (p. 31). As their lives are not valued,...
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