In today’s society, all are encouraged to be true to oneself (be unique) and to express inner thoughts through emotions and actions. Society often takes the meaning of memories and feelings, lightly yet it is so crucial to have such features in a society! However, in the novel “The Giver”, those luxuries were not given in the community that Jonas, a crucial character in the novel, and his family lived in. One must understand the significance of having a community that thrives based off of diversity, emotion, joy, and pain.
To give backstory, the book takes place in a community filled with no emotions, diversity, color, etc. and everyone is quite literally the same. They receive the exact amount of nutrition necessary to survive, given jobs as soon as they reach a certain age, and basically are given all the essentials for life. Yet, they are given no memories, no “out of the box” thoughts, ability to see color, make choices and many more things one would see in today’s society; “two children – one male, one female – to each family unit. It was written very clearly in the rules” (Lowry 57). The story centralizes on Jonas, a young teen who seems to not quite fit in with the rest of his community. When the day comes to choose his occupation for the remainder of his life, he is gifted the job “The Receiver of Memory”. The job mostly entails receiving the memories and feelings from the past so that they are not lost forever, and the community has someone to contact to make sure history does not repeat itself. It may seem quite easy but with memories there is pain. The book revolves around how Jonas takes in the memories and his choice on what to do with them.
The significance of the book can be summarized as the importance of individuality in a society. In the novel, around the age of twelve the children of the community seem to struggle when trying to become an individual. According to Lowry, the community notices the difference in Jonas, and instead of rejoicing and allowing him to express himself he is viewed with a blind eye. The society had a “hidden rule” that was not truly a rule but “was considered rude to call attention to things that were unsettling or different about individuals” (Lowry 46). It is strange to think that uniqueness and individuality is not crucial in the society that Jonas lives in. Many can not see that today the communities thrive on differences and thoughts created based off of individuality. It is clear that what one is, what makes an individual, and what differentiates the individual from others is what defines the individual. If everyone was the same, there would never be no change, no advancements just the same bland thoughts. As well as, ones interests. According to Lowry, the children for the most part have no interests, they remain stuck in the same pattern of entertainment. Sadly, they do not understand if it is truly entertaining or not due to their lack of emotion. Jonas expresses that, “it was an activity that he had performed countless times: throw, catch, throw, catch. It was effortless for Jonas, and even boring, though Asher enjoyed it” (Lowry 23). It seems that Jonas thinks of his life so bland, to not search for an interest that truly grabs him, yet at the time he did not know any better. He did not think to search for something that truly entertained him. The importance of interests is really what defines life. If one does not enjoy the activities that they do, it is pointless in the idea of life. Consider this, what is the point in living in sameness? How would it benefit the current society?
That question is truly why readers read the story, to see if the benefits of having no color, emotion, memories, truth, etc. outweigh the opposite. To see if it is truly better, to not have the differences that we have. But it is clear that without individuality there would be revolutions against the government. Due to the fact that the individuals would be unhappy and take it out on the highest of power. Not only is that theme, a significant reason why readers read this. It is also due to the fact that the plot in general is interesting! The book twists and turns in so many directions, that the ending kind of sets readers up in shock. It also goes from past to present, which is always neat to read about the differences in times. One of the biggest cliffhangers was when Jonas was skipped at the ceremony. He says, “She skipped me, Jonas thought, stunned … A mistake. She had made a mistake. But Jonas knew, as he had the thought, that she hadn’t. The Chief Elder made no mistakes. Not at the Ceremony of Twelve“(Lowry 57-58). The story just overall is a rollercoaster ride which really grabs readers in.
All in all, it is clear that the significance of The Giver is the importance of individuality in a society. Readers are hooked in by its interesting plot, and ideas from a society of sameness. Without the encouragement of individuality and the opportunity to express ideas there would be no advancements and true joy in the world. That is why The Giver, is an important novel in today’s society.