The Giver

The novel “The Giver”, published in 1993, was written by Lois Lowry. This book describes an emotionless world which is very strict and well structured, everyone has a planned life and is given hardly any choices.

In this world, you can only see black and white. There are strict rules to be followed, people who behave wrongly will be released. After one person is 12 years old, the age doesn’t matter anymore and the person will be given a job for the future. Only the year everyone is born into matters and not the exact date. The protagonist is an 11-year-old boy named Jonas. Jonas has a little sister who is seven. Jonas’s dad’s job is to take care of new-born children and Jonas’s mother’s job has something to do with law.

There are strict rules about how somebody should behave, touching somebody will be interpreted as rude and is a break of rules, the person will be punished or released. Children are also trained to express themselves with specific words to not create misunderstandings, plus, people are not allowed to lie. To be released has a bad meaning for everyone except the babies and the old people. There will be a celebration if a baby or an old person is released.

On the first day of the year, there is the festival where everyone under 12 will go onto the stage and they will be “graduated” to the next year. The eleven-year-olds will go onto the stage and the speaker will tell them their jobs for the future which the “eldest” made after discussions and observations. Jonas got the most honored job “receiver” which only exists once. He got a paper which says that he can ask everything he wants, he cannot ask for a release and he is allowed to lie.

After school, Jonas and his friends will go to the respective employer to start their training sessions. Jonas goes to the current receiver of the memories who is the “Giver”. In the beginning, Jonas gets happy memories of snow, the sun and other simple things which don’t exists in that world transferred. Afterwards, Jonas also gets a lot of painful memories like diseases, war and loss. Slowly, Jonas’s eyes start to see colors and he feels pity that other people except him and the Giver cannot see them. So, Jonas tries to transfer to his friends and his sister a memory piece, but unsuccessfully. Shortly, The Giver and Jonas get close and The Giver tells Jonas about the last Memory Receiver who couldn’t bear the painful memories and asked for release.

At home, Jonas’s father tells the family about a weak baby boy who he has to take care of. The name of the boy is Gabriel and in the end of the year, people will decide if he will become a one-year-old or be released. Because the boy is really weak, his father will take him home to take care of him. Jonas really likes Gabriel and he is the first person to whom Jonas transferred a memory piece successfully.

So, Jonas got curious about what to be released means. Together with the Giver, he watched a video of his dad releasing a baby. Jonas realized, that being released means being killed. At home, Jonas’s dad told the family that Gabriel is going to be released soon. After hearing this, Jonas can’t stay calm anymore, he wants to escape and makes a plan together with the Giver.

One night, Jonas takes a bicycle, food and water, and Gabriel with him to escape. They move by night and sleep at day time to not be detected by the search planes. In the end, they enter a place where Jonas spots a snowflake for the first time and he keeps going with Gabriel to find other people outside.

Everywhere where humans live, there will also be conflicts. The conflicts can be resolved, but they also can develop into a war. In human history, there have been numerous wars and two world wars. Wars are always painful, no matter whether you win or lose. The idea of the creator of the world in The Giver is to create a world without conflicts. The strict rules and the system are made to avoid these conflicts.

The rule of not touching others is made to not let anyone feel uncomfortable because of too much physical contact.

The rule of expressing yourself with precise language is to avoid misunderstandings. When Jonas asks his mom after receiving the memory of love: “Do you love me mom?” his mother and father correct him instantly with: “Do you enjoy me?” and “Do you take pride in my accomplishments?”

The rule of not lying and instantly apologizing after doing things which is considered as rude also avoids many conflicts. If this rule existed in the world of today, many problems wouldn’t even develop if people apologized right after doing something wrong.

In the system, everyone will get as many things such as furniture, toys or bikes as anyone else and at the same age so there is not conflict of money. For example, Lily and other seven-year-olds get the same jacket when they all turn eight-year-old.

Jonas describes his feeling toward a female friend of his in the dream as wanting. Then his mom called that feeling stirring and told him to take medicine to make it go away. The stirrings are described as something everyone will get and boys usually get it earlier than girls. That medicine seems to be something which controls the hormones. It stops people getting feelings for each other. That is the reason why everyone is comfortable with their partner. Feelings, mostly romantic feelings are important reasons which makes people sad. In the world of today, examples like this are everywhere.

Another point to mention is that in this society, there is a job called birth mother. So, if a family wants a child, they have to request a child. Every birth mother has to give three births, but it is not a job of honor.

The world is also really transparent, there is a camera in each house and a speaker to tell the families about the news.

Another big problem in today’s world is also easily solved by releasing everyone after a specific age. In our world, it would be too cruel, but because people make the release for senior people a positive thing and most people don’t even know the meaning of being released, everyone is okay with it.

There are even more rules designed to avoid conflicts, every seed of conflict is stopped before it starts to develop.

The world in the Giver is created not to feel any pain or sadness anymore, but if you have never felt any real sadness or pain, you will never be really happy or love somebody. After getting so many strong emotions from the memories and starting to see the colors, the fellow people of Jonas must have felt like robots to him. Another factor which has speeded up the decision to escape is after realizing that Gabriel will be killed soon, and Jonas wants to save him, and the only choice is to escape with him.

I wouldn’t want to live in this emotionless world with the fake peace and every choice already made for everyone.



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