Posts filed under ‘The Giver’

The Giver, Chapters 9 and 10

Book: The Giver, By Lois Lowry

Posted by: Lucy Knisley

Chapter 9:

Jonas has received his assignment as the new “Receiver of Memory” within the community. This singular and mysterious assignment sets Jonas apart from the rest of the community, which he feels as soon as he sets food outside. His closest friend, Asher, behaves uncomfortably around him, and even his parents and sister aren’t quite sure how to treat him.

 

Chapter 10:

Jonas arrives for his first session at his new assignment. He is directed to a room full of unfamiliar books and rich furnishings. He meets “The Giver,” an older man who explains that he will be transmitting human memories to Jonas. This is his role in the community, to bear these strange memories for the community that has long since eradicated emotion, feeling and individuality. And Jonas is to be the next to shoulder this burden.

 

(I always thought The Giver’s room sounded really cozy!)

December 11, 2010 at 8:10 pm 29 comments

“The Giver,” Chapter 8

Book: The Giver, by Lois Lowry

Illustrated by: Lucy Knisley

In this chapter, the Community’s Cheif Elder explains that Jonas has been selected as the new “Reciever of Memory.” This assignment sets him apart from his peers– his assignment will involve suffering and pain. His training will be secret and mysterious. There is only one Reciever, so he is alone. The elder mentions that the last selected Reciever was a “failure,” and that this new choice was not made lightly. The Community reveres this title, strange as it is, so Jonas is flooded with approval from the gathered community.

Naturally, Jonas is totally scared out of his mind, and has no idea why he was picked for this job, but the approval of the Community is clearly the most important thing here.

I was struck by the act of leaving Jonas on the stage in his trepidation to face the community that he is now bound to serve. Truly, he is alone and operating outside of the parameters of the Sameness he has always lived by. As he looks at them, that “thing that had happened with the apple” occurs again, and Jonas begins to understand that this strange occurrence is why he is fit for this appointment.

Crazy scary.

October 21, 2010 at 12:16 pm 4 comments

“The Giver,” Chapter 7

Book: The Giver, by Lois Lowry

Illustrated by: Lucy Knisley

Finally, the ceremony of Twelve begins, and Jonas is fraught with anticipation over his Community assignment– how he will spend his adult life serving the Community. As number 19 in the order of his birthyear, he has to wait for the first eighteen year-twelves to receive their assignments, but when it comes time for his number to be called, the Chief Elder skips him!

In this society of monotony, such an aberration to the normal procedure is met with fear and bewilderment. It is especially so for Jonas at the center of the event, who is so cognizant of the rules.The community is a place where the rules of “sameness” are the basis of a society, and being able to fit in is the be-all end-all. This moment rips Jonas out of the monotony that is his and his community’s ideal.

This is a perfect moment for a young-adult book, because  adolescents are so often learning and testing rules of conduct. I spent a lot of time at age 12 wondering what I did wrong in various situations. Getting in trouble was pretty common, and public embarrassment was dreaded slightly less than decapitation.

I loved finally drawing a good crowd scene within the community. It’s fascinating to imagine what this society has done to eradicate personal differences as much as possible, but to sneak in subtle differences within the group.

I won’t go into why Jonas was skipped over, because it’s revealed in the next chapter, and I want to save it! Stay tuned…

September 17, 2010 at 9:32 am 4 comments

“The Giver,” Chapter 6

Book: The Giver, by Lois Lowry

Illustrated by: Lucy Knisley

This sixth chapter begins the two-day ceremony; an annual ritual that advances every age group within the community by presenting them with items that signify age status. Jonas, being twelve, will go last and receive his “assignment” that will be his job for the rest of his life.

The book doesn’t detail every year’s ceremonial gift, but goes into the psychology of it a little bit by explaining some of the reasoning behind the objects. The back-buttoned jacket is meant to teach interdependence, as you had to rely on your classmates and family to do up the buttons. The front-buttoned jacket begins to promote independence. It’s fascinating to imagine what the unmentioned years might receive.

I remember being especially disturbed by the finality of the “assignments” when I was twelve and read this for the first time, and thinking, “Twelve-years-old is nowhere near old enough to choose a profession.”

Now when I read it, I think, “These ceremonies must be so BORING for people my age– adults without children of their own to participate in the ceremonies!”

Sorry I was late this month!

September 2, 2010 at 12:31 pm 6 comments

“The Giver,” Chapters 4 and 5

Book: The Giver, by Lois Lowry

Illustrated by: Lucy Knisley

Chapter 4:

This scene from the fourth chapter is a weird one. Jonas is fulfilling his last few volunteer hours as “an eleven,” so he rides his bike to the “House of the Old,” to join his friends in caring for the elderly of the community. There, he bathes a woman who tells him glowingly about a “release” that took place earlier, when an man at the house of the old was “released” from the community.

There’s a lot of talk of physicality in this scene. It’s explained that within the community, seeing anyone naked is forbidden (excluding the elderly and the very young). Much time is spent describing the steamy room and the woman’s frail skin and Jonas’ friend, Fiona, who, nearby, is washing an elderly man.

It’s always been a really eerily visual scene to me. The strange sexuality of this moment points out how the rest of life within the community is decidedly un-sexual. Reproduction is handled through designated birthmothers who are (one assumes) artificially inseminated. Even “mothers” and “fathers” are assigned to one another, and seem to behave like just good pals.

Man, this is such a great, creepy book.

Chapter 5:

In this chapter, Jonas and his family gather around the breakfast table to discuss their dreams from the previous night. Jonas shares a confusing, uncomfortable dream, in which he is trying to bathe his friend Fiona as he did for the elderly woman in the previous chapter. In the dream, Fiona laughingly refuses, which makes Jonas “angry.” His mother explains that the dream is his first “stirring,” which indicates that he has reached the time when he should begin to take the daily pills that are taken by all adults in the community.

Another creepy one. The dream is actually less sexual than the bathing scene from the former chapter, but it’s strange that Jonas is consumed with a kind of anger in his dream. This frustration, while perfectly natural in sexy dreams, reflects how repressed the sexuality is within this community, so that sexuality manifests as frustration and “wanting” in Jonas’ dream.

Congratulated on reaching the age that allows him to join his parents and friend Asher in taking the pills, Jonas becomes proud of his new status and takes the pills. As soon as he’s taken them, he tries to recapture the “pleasurable feelings in the dream,” but they quickly slip away and vanish.

They drugged the sexy right out of this community!

I thought these two chapters went so well together that they should post both at once. Next month: The start of the The Ceremony!

July 21, 2010 at 10:25 pm 15 comments

The Giver- Chapter 3

Posted by: Lucy Knisley

Book: The Giver, by Lois Lowry

“Oh, look!” Lily squealed in delight. “Isn’t he cute? Look how tiny he is! And he has funny eyes like yours, Jonas!” Jonas glared at her. He didn’t like it that she had mentioned his eyes. He waited for his father to chastise Lily. But Father was busy unstrapping the carrying basket from the back of his bicycle. Jonas walked over to look.
It was the first thing Jonas noticed as he looked at the newchild peering up curiously from the basket. The pale eyes.
Almost every citizen in the community had dark eyes. His parents did, and Lily did, and so did all of his group members and friends.”

(p. 20)

This chapter opens with the arrival of a “newchild,” Gabriel. Jonas’ father is a caregiver to very young children in the community, who reside at a care facility until they are placed with a family at the annual ceremony. Gabriel is a poor sleeper, so he is allowed to be cared for in Jonas’ home in the hopes that it will improve his health. It’s immediately apparent that Jonas and Gabriel have a connection, as illustrated by their similarly unusual eye shading.

Later, Jonas goes on to ruminate on a memory of a strange occurrence during his recreation period…

Jonas had casually picked up an apple from the basket where the snacks were kept, and had thrown it to his friend. Asher had thrown it back, and they had begun a simple game of catch.

There had been nothing special about it; it was an activity that he had performed countless times: throw, catch; throw, catch. It was effortless for Jonas, and even boring, though Asher enjoyed it, and playing catch was a required activity for Asher because it would improve his hand-eye coordination, which was not up to standards.

But suddenly Jonas had noticed, following the path of the apple through the air with his eyes, that the piece of fruit had– well, this was the part that he couldn’t adequately understand– the apple had changed. Just for an instant. It had changed in mid-air, he remembered. Then it was in his hand, and he looked at it carefully, but it was the same apple. Unchanged. The same size and shape: a perfect sphere. The same nondescript shade, about the same shade as his own tunic.

(p.23-24)

Finally, I can use a little color in these illustrations! And by a little, I mean, the absolute tiniest bit. More to come, though… See you next month!

June 20, 2010 at 10:35 am 6 comments

The Giver, Chapter 2


(Click image to view it larger)

Posted by: Lucy Knisley

Book: The Giver, by Lois Lowry

“What your mother said is true as well. There will be changes.”
“Good changes, though,” his mother pointed out. “After my Ceremony of Twelve, I missed my childhood recreation. But when I entered my training for Law and Justice, I found myself with people who shared my interests. I made friends on a new level, friends of all ages.”
“Did you still play at all, after Twelve?” Jonas asked.
“Occasionally,” his mother replied. “But it didn’t seem as important to me.”
“I did,” his father said, laughing. “I still do. Every day at the Nurturing Center, I play bounce-on-the-knee, and peek-a-boo, and hug-the-teddy.” He reached over and stroked Jonas’s neatly trimmed hair. “Fun doesn’t end when you become a Twelve.”
Lily appeared, wearing her nightclothes, in the doorway. She gave an impatient sigh. “This certainly is a very long private conversation,” she said. “And there are certain people waiting for their comfort object.”

(pg. 18)

This follows a long conversation Jonas has with his parents, during which he expresses his apprehension over his imminent “Ceremony of Twelve” (the ritual birthday when The Community chooses and announces each 12-year-old child’s profession). I always liked this scene, because it seems so alien and comfortable at the same time. I was about 12 when I first read this book, and I remember being aghast that your lifelong work would be chosen for you at that age. But the feeling of talking with my parents about my anxieties over the dinner table was so relatable, still somehow in this weird weird world.

The conversation is brought to an end by Jonas’ younger sister, Lily ,who requests her “Comfort Animal.”

…Her father had already gone to the shelf and taken down the stuffed elephant which was kept there. Many of the comfort objects, like Lily’s, were soft, stuffed, imaginary creatures. Jonas’s had been called a bear.

(pg. 18)

CREEEPY! Bears and elephants are imaaaaginary!

May 20, 2010 at 12:00 am 9 comments

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