Daily Archives: May 25, 2012

Reading Circles – The Giver {Conclusion}

This book, for me, is one of those books where I stared at the last page, absorbing the final words, totally satisfied with the ride and yet unwilling to disembark. How about you? Did you enjoy it?

What stood out to you as some of the story’s more powerful messages and themes?

I think there’s a lot in this book to read and hold on to, but for me, one of the most striking themes was loss of innocence: the disillusionment, the almost physically painful crisis of faith & identity, and the resultant growth into strength. It’s the space wherein people grow from child into adult, and where character is built.

How did you read the ending? The interesting thing to me was I read the ending as being a very spiritual one (Perhaps because he’s carrying the babe, Gabriel, and moving towards warmth, music, and light? And both names invoke the names of prophets?) and so I thought Jonas died in the end. I was actually surprised to learn that while Lowry intentionally left the ending ambiguous, she never thought that people would believe Jonas had died, because it had such a sense of optimism. I read the optimism, but simply thought of it as a beautiful ascension into heaven! Death, for me, is not always a wholly sad ending.

Did you know that The Giver, while earning much literary acclaim and has been used often in classrooms, incurred the ire of many parents, who thought it “encourages euthanasia and undermines motherhood, among other things”? I had to laugh because, if anything, I think it does the exact opposite. Euthanasia is precisely what is most horrific in the book and inspires Jonas to leave his community. And for me, one of the most heartbreaking moments is when Jonas asks his parents if they love him, and they’re like “What do you mean ‘love’? Do you mean do we like you?” If anything, that moment shows how sad it would be to not have a natural mother-child bond. What do you think?

I discovered these interesting tidbits – and more! – from reading an interview with Lois Lowry. I’ve recently gotten into the habit of looking up interviews with the author when I come across an author I truly appreciate. I don’t know why I never thought of it before, but it’s now become such a valuable resource to my own writing! I’ve learned so much from hearing about other author’s processes: how they get their ideas, how they develop them, and what it is that drives them towards particular projects.

So, for your reading enjoyment, I’ll share with you my favorite interview with Lois Lowry. Enjoy! And have a fantastic Memorial Day weekend!