Name of Book : The Giver
Author: Lois Lowry
Publisher: Laurel-Leaf Books
Audience: Ages 11 and up
Summary: Jonas and his family live in a perfect society where no one feels emotions or has to think for themselves. Each member of the community has a role which is assigned to him or her when he or she turns twelve, and Jonas is selected for role of the Receiver, the one who will keep all of the memories of the community. In learning his new position, Jonas becomes frustrated with the community’s way of life and works with the former memory keeper, the Giver, to devise a plan of escape which will dispense all memories to the community, forcing them to have to deal with emotions and making decisions. The plans are amended due to an unexpected event, but Jonas still escapes from the community and begins to make his own memories when the ones given him start to fade. The story ends during the escape and the fate of the community following Jonas’s escape is unknown.
Literary elements at work in the story: The story is a dystopia, set in a man-made and man-regulated society. It is told from the point of view of an omniscient narrator, but from Jonas’ perspective in the community. Jonas develops a relationship with the Giver and also a child Gabriel which compels him to take action toward change in the community. This is a good starting point to discussing the human nature of sin.
How does the perspective on gender/race/culture/economic/ability make a difference to the story? Because the story is set in a regulated community, there are really only perspectives on gender. The race is unknown, but is assumed to be white given the details about hair color and eye color. All members of the society are economically equal. Those who are unable to work or function appropriately, either for age or disability, are “released” from the society. The culture is man-made and man-regulated.
Scripture: Galatians 3:3-4
Theology: God created us to know and love God and each other. We have turned away from God, and so from each other. We are unable to turn ourselves back toward God and unable to make our relationship with God and one another right. Someone outside of us, Jesus Christ, must come and turn us back toward God, to make our relationship with God and one another what it was supposed to be from the beginning.
Faith Talk Questions:
- Did we create God, or did God create us?
- Why do we think that we would do a better job of being in control than God?
- What made Jonas’s society broken?
- Do you see any pieces of Jonas’s broken society in our own society today? What?
- Did God create us to all be the same? How do you know that God doesn’t want us to be the same?
Review prepared by Mason Todd, Union-PSCE in Charlotte
The Giver by Storypath is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License.