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The Giver
Children's Literature with Dr. Vardell

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Book CoverHere is my review of The Giver...

Lowry, Lois. 1993. THE GIVER. N.Y.: Bantam Doubleday Dell Books for Young Readers. ISBN: 0-440-21907-8.


According to Professor Dr. Sylvia Vardell of TWU, the 1994 Newbery Award winning science fiction book, The Giver by Lois Lowry, is one of the most important books ever written for children. Jonas, the young protagonist of the story, is put into a position that allows him to show courage in the face of fear and uncertainty. By leaving the community he gives them back memories. In the end a one sentence line (he thinks they hear music) provides a glimmer of  hope that he has saved his community from their mind numbing lives, allowing them to experience feelings and make decisions for themselves.


The story's plot is consistent and believable. A community is viewed through the eyes of an eleven year old boy, Jonas. He, like everyone else in the community is brainwashed. Everything in their supposedly utopian society has gone to "sameness." The people only see in black and white, jobs and spouses are assigned, all sexual feelings, or "stirrings" , are killed with a pill, people are "released" (euthanasia) when they are old, if a baby is weak or if a citizen makes more than three major mistakes. The setting is clearly established. The location for the story is not told, nor is it necessary. The reader sees a sterile, perfectly controlled and mundane "bubble" world.   


The theme of the book reflects the universal truth of the value of life and the uniqueness of every human soul. This book, dedicated by the author "to all the children to whom we entrust the future" hints at being futuristic. The point of view of the author is imparted through a story with little or no explanation. The message of the story rings loud and clear through the power of the author's skillful writing and the story ends on a hopeful note.

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