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The Giver: a Critique

Oct 08, 1999 672 Words
The Giver: A Critique

The purpose of this book was to show us a possible version of a "Utopia". It was a fantasy oriented book, that was suppose to make you think about the possibilities for the future. The setting is a supposedly perfect society where everyone is taken care of and no one is different. The author Lois Lowry does a fine job portraying this supposedly "ideal" society.

This book began with a description of sameness and release the two general principles the society functions on. It then continues while Jonas (the main character) waits to receive his assignment in the community. Waiting to find out what his assignment is, and what it entails doing are rises in action. The climax is when the plan to escape the society is being conceived and the actual escape itself. The falling action is when he is escaping from the search planes and trying to keep himself and Gabriel alive. The ending is when he feels triumph at the top of the hill and then sleds down it to his new family, his first memory that belongs to him.

There were many characters in this book the main one being Jonas. Jonas is a child in this supposed "Utopia" who ends up with the most important assignment of all the "Receiver of Memory". The Receiver holds all the memories of the whole community so the community does not have to be bothered with feelings and the emotional baggage that comes with them. Jonas's trainer the "Giver" is a old man who passes the memories on to Jonas and eventually thinks of the plan to escape. The Giver also adopts Jonas and Rosemary as his own kids in a way. He had a previous "Receiver" named Rosemary who applied for and received release. Release is the term for death in this community. So when Rosemary was released her memories went back to the community. Jonas and the Giver were talking about this when the Giver got the idea of how to get Jonas away from the community and get the community back its emotions and feelings. Gabriel was a another influential character he was a baby staying with Jonas's family till he was ready to be given to a family unit. He was scheduled for release however and this convinced Jonas what he had to do. Which was to escape with Gabriel and get away from the community. His father was a nurturer and one day Jonas wanted to see a release so the Giver showed his father releasing a newborn twin because he was lighter and having two identical people walking around would be too confusing. After Jonas saw his father murder the young newborn he was very distraught and the next day he learned of Gabriels scheduled release and since Jonas had become attached to Gabriel he decided he must leave. These were the main characters in this story.

The theme of this book was the idea of sameness and how we would most likely react to it and what it would be like. The book is based in this fictional society where everyone is provided for, everything is the same. The old are killed after a certain age and the young are too if they do not gain enough weight or sleep normal. The word love is a defined a sloppy and imprecise word. Differences are frowned upon and being the same as everyone else is encouraged. The laws are strict and no one dares disobey them. This book portrayed what could possibly happen if we give the government too much authority.

My evaluation of this book was that Lowry accurately portrayed a certain kind of "Utopia". A "Utopia" that might not be that far off in the future. He used foreshadowing to keep the reader at the edge of his or her seat. The title was intriguing as well as accurate. This book was a real eye opener and really made you think of the possibilities for tomorrow.

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