The Giver: Lois Lowry

The Giver is set in a dystopian society in which everyone is conditioned to act properly. Through this conditioning, emphasis is placed on the outward appearance and characteristics of each individual. Growing up in this man made society, Jonas faces many difficult decisions. While everyone around him seems to be accepting the life that has been laid before them, Jonas begins to wonder why things are as they are. Soon he realizes things are truly not as they seem.

Jonas has been chosen for a special job within the community; a job that is rarely assigned. He will be the Receiver of Memories. In short, he will be the only being in this small society allowed to know any truths or histories of the outside world. With this job, comes many hardships. He begins to question everything he has ever learned.
Based on a rather generic theme of individuality, Lois Lowry gives readers new ways to approach what it means to be unique. While The Community places quite a bit of importance upon physical difference while maintaining similar personalities, Jonas focuses on what each person is like separately. This leads readers to begin reflecting upon themselves and their society.
Somewhat more complex is a theme that links quality of life with knowledge. A majority of the citizens living in the community live it the dark and therefore can't conceive living another way. Sadly, even the community government is completely ignorant. The Giver, being the only one granted the privilege to read books and hence study outside cultures, then becomes the advisory for the government. While the absence of memory and knowledge allows the community to live peacefully and painfully, readers are able to see through Jonas' point of view why memory is important, memory is the key to knowledge.
The ending leaves readers guessing. It is unclear whether Jonas is witnessing the action or drifting off into a memory. Lowry recreates the first memory transferred from the Giver causing the reader to wonder what happens to Jonas. The only way to know is to read Gathering Blue.

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