Tuesday, January 11, 2011

The Giver - Lois Lowry

Is ignorance bliss?

Imagine a future world that has eliminated pain and strife by converting everyone to "sameness". A world of politeness and manners where all violence, prejudice, and poverty are eliminated, but also a world where the past must remain hidden. A world where ignorance of the past is bliss.

Only one person The Giver possesses memories of the time before, so that he or she may draw upon these memories in case they are needed. When Jonas turns 12, he is singled out to receive special training from The Giver, and the knowledge that there is perhaps something more to life.

Lois Lowry, the author, describes the story as follows:

"I tried to make Jonas's world seem familiar, comfortable, and safe, and I tried to seduce the reader. I seduced myself along the way. It did feel good, that world. I got rid of all the things I fear and dislike; all the violence, poverty, prejudice and injustice, and I even threw in good manners as a way of life because I liked the idea of it. One child has pointed out, in a letter, that the people in Jonas's world didn't even have to do dishes. It was very, very tempting to leave it at that."

Now, it’s time for Jonas to receive the truth. But what is the truth? For Jonas, there is no turning back.What choice will he make? And must he make that choice for others?

What choice would you make?

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