Themes in the Giver

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Study of Themes in The Giver by Lois Lowry
Lois Lowry’s book, The Giver, is a portrayal of a utopian community without pain or fear where all human needs are provided for and the elders of the community make all decisions for each individual. It is a society in which the belief system is based off the idea that pain is the ultimate evil, and so, to eliminate pain and suffering desire and individuality must be eliminated. Lowry’s purpose in writing this novel is displayed through three clear and impacting themes: the importance of memory, the relationship between pain and pleasure, and the importance of the individual. The Giver is a beautiful and empowering novel that encourages individuals to examine and explore their own role in human society.

One of the most important themes in The Giver is the significance of memory to human life. Through the character of Jonas, Lowry proposes the idea that without memory, there is no pain. “Why do you and I have to hold these memories?” Jonas, The Receiver, asked his trainer, “It gives us wisdom,” The Giver replied. (Page 111). If you cannot remember physical pain, you might as well not have experienced it, and you can’t learn from regret or grief if you cannot remember the events that hurt you. At some point in the past the community in The Giver decided to eliminate all pain from their lives. To do so, they had to give up the memories of their society’s experiences. Not only did this allow them to forget all of the pain that had been suffered throughout human history, it also prevented members of the society from wanting to engage in activities and relationships that could result in conflict and suffering, and eliminated any desire for the things the community gave up in order to live in total peace and harmony. According to the novel, however, memory is essential. The Committee of Elders does recognize the necessity of memory; if you do not remember your errors, you may repeat them. In order to control the...
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