Giving The Giver Back to CMS Library
According to the American Library Association (ALA), young adult novels are challenged with the best intentions. In most cases a parent will read a book that their child might be reading in class to find out if the book is hazardous to their child’s well-being. If the novel seems problematic, the parent then challenges the book. Even though the purpose of challenging a novel is to keep children from reading about issues that may not be seen as appropriate for their age group, censoring children from difficult subject matter is not always the solution. There is always controversy when difficult issues arise in adolescent geared novels. Even though there are many concerns with Lois Lowry’s The Giver, this book should not be banned from the Coopertown Middle Library. The Giver is about an eleven-year-old boy named Jonas is a light-eyed boy who lives in a Utopian society. Within his society, there is no suffering, no hunger, no war, no color, and no love. There is no uniqueness and everyone is, in essence, the same. No one leaves the community unless they are released, which normally only happens to elderly adults, sick infants, or those choosing to break the rules. When the children turn twelve, they are assigned professions. Jonas was skipped when it was his turn to receive a profession, and at the end of the ceremony he is selected to be The Receiver of Memory. He is the apprentice of The Giver, an elderly man that was the former receiver, which gives him memories of humanity. Jonas gets to experience things like color, emotion, landscapes, passion, all things that are not present in his community. Even though he gets to experience good things like sledding down a hill, he is also exposed to war and death. All of this new knowledge causes Jonas to feel a need to rebel. No one in his community has ever felt any of the things he has recently experienced, and this makes him wonder what else his community is keeping from him. A year later, Jonas finds out that when the community releases people, which again, only happens to the very elderly, the sick infants, and the rule breakers, they are actually lethally injecting them. This strikes a cord with Jonas, not only because of the moral issue, but also because he and his family are nursing a sick baby, Gabriel, back to health. Gabriel is a lot like Jonas in that he has light eyes, a trait that only The Receiver can have. In order to prevent Gabriel from being released, Jonas and The Giver devise a plan to fake his own death with the intention of running away to Elsewhere, a place that is the complete opposite of his community, with Gabriel. If The Receiver escapes the community, all of the memories are then made public. Not only will they have to deal with the new emotions, but also they will understand what it means to have choices. Even though Jonas is risking his and Gabriel’s lives, he knows that this is the best decision, not only for him, but also for his community. The night before he decides to put his plan in action, Jonas learns that Gabriel is to be released the next morning. He has to act quickly, and proceeds to take Gabriel and his bike, and runs away quickly. Weeks later, hungry and tired, Jonas is still biking with Gabriel. Jonas precedes to try to give Gabriel memories of happiness in order to prevent him from dying. Finally, it starts to snow and they reach a hill with a sled. He sleds down the hill, fully confident that when he reaches the bottom he will be Elsewhere. One of the first things that critics seem to notice is the Utopian environment in which the book is set. This is challenged because parents do not want their children to think that perfection is something that is attainable. While this may be a valid point, what parents must realize is that Jonas is aware of the imperfections of his community midway through the novel. He begins to understand that the perfect world that he is growing up in...
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