Reading Circles – The Giver {Part 3}

Happy Friday everyone! How have you been enjoying The Giver so far? Still chugging along? Tempted to read ahead? Couldn’t put it down and have secretly already finished? Don’t worry; I won’t judge!

So last week, we were starting to really get in the thick of things! We read chapters 7-10_ and one of the things I mentioned to look for was the Point of No Return: the spot in the plot line where the main character gets dragged into the story, whether he likes it or not. After this point, there is no going back to normal without first dealing with the situation he has been presented with.

At what point would you say our guy, Jonas, is fully sucked in?

For me, the pinnacle moment was when he was selected as the Receiver of Memory. Same for you? And look! It’s almost precisely one-third of the way into the novel, which means the entire first third comprised Act I: Opening & Set-Up. Typically, novels reach the Point of No Return a little sooner, say around 18-20% of the way in. You generally have to get the readers sucked in quickly to the conflict or you’ll lose them. But notice how Lowry keeps tension going. By the beginning of chapter 7, the ceremony we’ve been long awaiting has started. Tension mounts, but she sustains it as she takes a quick side step to talk about Asher. We breeze through it, knowing something important is mere sentences away.

Then…they skip him! They skip Jonas and now you know there’s something really funky going on up in there and you just have to find out what.

And then finally….they announce: he is the Receiver of Memory {cue booming voice}. But what does that mean?

In this way, Lowry keeps us going by constantly keeping a question to which we’re aching to find the answer. And just as we get one answer, it’s followed immediately by more. No saggy undies plot here.

*     *     *

This week, we turn to Act II, where the “thought plickens,” as my husband would say. Here is where we’re going to delve deeper into the story line, major themes unfold, and we begin to find out what’s at stake for the protagonist as the conflict grows thicker.

So let’s read on through chapters 11-14. My questions this week tend towards the development of plot and underlying themes. Let’s see what we all make of them, shall we?

* What is your reaction to Jonas’s discussion(s) with The Giver about Sameness? What do you think the author is suggesting about the tradeoffs that societies make?

* What changes is _knowledge_ arousing in Jonas?

* Why do you think choice suddenly matters to Jonas when it was something he neither had nor wanted before?

* How does the conflict spiral outward, beyond Jonas to affect others?

* To what extent is being The Receiver an honor or a burden? How does our answer to this question evolve during the course of the book?

* What’s going on with the subplot(s)? What do you notice about when & how the author weaves in smaller story lines?

Okay everyone, so…by the time you read this post I’ll be not in Thailand, but in Berlin, ready to discuss more from there! Hope you all have a great weekend!


2 responses to “Reading Circles – The Giver {Part 3}

  1. Love love love The Giver. I read it in grade school and I’ve reread it countless times since. Still quite possibly one of my favorite books of all time. Great Post!

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