Module 4: Post 1: The Giver by Lois Lowry

Book Title: The Giver

Author: Lois Lowry

Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Company

Published Date:1993


In a world where life is prescribed for you, Jonas is different. He can see things others can’t. He feels things others don’t. And these things are noticed. When he isn’t called to receive his assignment, he dreads what that news means. Not in his wildest imagination does he think he will become the next giver of society. For now, he is the receiver and this will be his biggest challenge ever.

APA Reference:

Lowry, L. (1993). The giver. New York, NY: Houghton Mifflin Company.


I don’t know what I was expecting from hearing about this book all my life, but this book was better than anything I could have hoped for. The idea that our lives are planned for us is scary, but a truth that seems like it could happen. As scary as this is, I would not want to live in this type of society. I would definitely not want to be the giver or receiver or rememberer or anything like that either.

Professional Review:

In a departure from her well-known and favorably regarded realistic works, Lois Lowry has written a fascinating, thoughtful science-fiction novel. The story takes place in a nameless community, at an unidentified future time. The life is utopian: there is no hunger, no disease, no pollution, no fear; old age is tenderly cared for; every child has concerned and attentive parents. Each aspect of life has a prescribed rule: one-year-olds ā€” “Ones” ā€” are Named and given to their chosen family; “Nines” get their first bicycles; Birthmothers give birth to three children and then become Laborers, “family units” get two children, one male, one female. In Jonas’s family, his father is a Nurturer, one who cares for the “newchildren” before they go to a family unit; his mother is in the Department of Justice, and he has a younger sister, Lily. But although their life seems perfect, the reader somehow becomes uneasily aware that all is not well. Young Jonas is eagerly waiting his Ceremony of Twelve, the time when all the twelve-year-olds in the community receive their Assignments for their lifelong professions.He can guess that his playful, jolly friend Asher will work in Recreation and that gentle Fiona will be Caretaker of the Old but he is astonished to be selected to be trained to be the new Receiver of Memories, the most respected of the Elders. As he begins his training by the old Receiver, whom he calls the Giver, he discovers that the community is spared all memories of pain and grief, which are lodged in the mind of the Giver, and now transmitted to Jonas. He learns about war, starvation, neglect, misery, and despair. He learns, to his horror, the truth about the happy release given to old people and newchildren who do not thrive. But he Teams also about joys that the community never experiences: they do not see color, or hear music, or know love. In a cliffhanger ending which can be construed as allegory or reality, he asserts his new wisdom and knowledge. The story is skillfully written; the air of disquiet is delicately insinuated. And the theme of balancing the values of freedom and security is beautifully presented.

Flowers, A. A. (1993). The giver. Horn Book Magazine, 69(4), 458

Library Uses:

This book is a good look into what society can become if we don’t know what is going on around us. To be informed about society, policies and laws is important and this book gives us a glimpse of a future that could happen.


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