Analysis of The Giver Book by Lois Lowry

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The Giver starts off as the ordinary story of an eleven-year-old boy named Jonas. When we meet the protagonist, he is apprehensive about the Ceremony of Twelve, at which he will be assigned his job. Although he has no clue as to what job he might be assigned, he is astonished when he is selected to be the Receiver of Memory. He learns that it is a job of the highest honor, one that requires him to bear physical pain of a magnitude beyond anyone’s experience.
As the story progresses, we realise that the society in it is not as ordinary as it seems. Among the inklings that we get that something is unusual is when the author describes elephants as “imaginary creatures”. Later we learn that this “community” is governed by a Committee of Elders, the most important of whom is the Receiver of Memory. Be it people’s jobs or spouses or children, this Committee exercises authority over everything. Pain, war, hatred and deceit do not exist. Everyone is extremely polite and honest. It appears to be an utopia.
However, as Jason’s training teaches him, this is not the case. His teacher, the Receiver of Memory, who tells Jonas to call him the Giver, transmits memories of the distant past to him. It is through these memories that Jonas discovers the meaning of snow, war, pain and love. The Giver tells him that these things existed before the people chose to go to “Sameness”. Ever since, they gave up those things in exchange for a world free of discrimination, crime and pain. However, realising the importance of wisdom gained through experience, they chose the Receiver to bear the burden of all the memories for them. Overwhelmed by all this information and being forbidden to share it with anyone, Jonas grows increasingly embittered against hi...

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...s us to celebrate our differences. We also realise that we live with the same kind of memories that Jonas struggles to carry, every day of our lives. Although the fact that the memories are new to him makes it harder for Jonas to bear the pain, it also makes it easier for him to appreciate the beauty of the little things. We, on the other hand, being familiar with the sensations, do not cherish them as much as we should. None of us savors the warmth of sunshine or the beauty of snow the way Jonas does. Perhaps we need the darkness of the night to appreciate the brightness of the moon.
Few books, especially those meant for children, are as deep as this one. The fact that the book ends on a hopeful note should only add to its virtue. The Giver helps us realise why our world, with all its imperfections, is beautiful.

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The Giver, Lois Lowry

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