The Giver, by Lois Lowry, is a sci-fi type novel about a society where everyone is assigned a specific job to do and no one is allowed to have feelings or memories of anything. Society is dictated by a few people in charge and the rest of the people just go about following the rules and instructions they are given. One of the main themes of the book is based on the importance of memory. The book is so interesting because it is opposite to the lifestyle we know. This book does deal with many issues, but it also teaches many lessons to be grateful for everything we have. We are so lucky to have memories and remember amazing and rough times in our lives.
Jonas is a young boy whose personality changes throughout the book. At the beginning of the story, Jonas’s personality seemed uptight, obedient, and quiet. He is being raised by people who are very obedient to society and have specific roles they are fulfilling, so he knows that his time will come to be assigned his role. When he gets chosen to be the Receiver of Memory, his attitude becomes more mature and less uptight because the Receiver of Memory is the only person within the society that is allowed to have feelings and memories. Jonas was skipped over and not assigned a role at the Ceremony of 12 which made him nervous, but then his name came up for that role “He expected to have a normal job but little did he know his job would change his life forever” (Lowry 72-73).
As Jonas begins to receive memories, he learns about feelings and emotions he has not felt before. It is interesting because we have felt them before and we don’t know what it feels like to not feel emotions. If you lived in the community in the book, The Giver, you would not remember anything from your childhood. At first, Jonas says that “There could be love” (Lowry 162) he feels for Gabriel, that is a feeling. When he learns that Gabriel, the young boy being raised by Jonas’ father, will be released, he feels pain because he has grown to love him and he knows that when someone is released from society it means likely death for that person. Another feeling Jonas feels is a change, he wants the young boy’s community to change, have colors, and especially memories. When Jonas and Gabriel escaped, Jonas would share good memories with Gabe because he wanted him to experience great feelings.
It’s so important to remember memories. Imagine not remembering any memories from your life. Jonas has to become responsible to handle all the community memories. He now experiences joy, happiness, pain, and fear for others. He cares about what happens to the people closest to him. He feels love for Fiona (a girl he likes), pain when Gabriel has to get released and amazing memories that he made with The Giver. In the text, Jonas says “that he feels bad for anyone who feels strange or stupid” (Lowry 8). He cares about people’s feelings and emotions. When Jonas was speaking to The Giver, he states “that memories are forever, he enjoyed receiving memories because it gave him happiness” (Lowry 144). To follow the previous example, The Giver says that, “without memories life is meaningless; how do you enjoy life when the good times never stay with you?” (Lowry 133).
The Giver is a story based on memories. The book made me realize how grateful I am for having memories, and the knowledge I have about my town. I feel that because Jonas could have feelings and memories it made him more knowledgeable about his community. I also think that because Jonas could help Gabriel and they were able to break free from this controlling society their lives would be changed forever. I would definitely recommend this book to others because it is an example of a story where someone has the courage to break away from the norm to help someone else. To live in a society where everyone is the same is not challenging people to have the freedom to express themselves or to share feelings and memories.