Wednesday, May 19, 2010

When I first read The Giver, I was very much puzzled and confused. I could not identify with the story or Jonas, as he seemed to live in a whole different world from mine! I was unable to visualize the setting in the book as it was very foreign to me and seemed to be different from the life I am living now. I could not understand what was happening in the book, about the “speaker”, the idea about being “released” and also why Lilly was called “ a Seven”. There were many odd terms in the beginning of the book which left me feeling very lost with no sense of direction as I could not understand what was actually going on in the book at first.

However, because it was so foreign and strange to me, I became extremely curious about the setting and way of life narrated in the book. As I read on, I soon began to realize that the story was set in a utopia where everything was standardized and controlled stringently to maintain an ideal community. The idea and concept seemed very far away for me, as I have not experienced it before!

As I carried on reading, I began to understand what exactly was going on in Jonas’ world and how it really functioned and worked. I became more comfortable reading it and could keep up with what was happening.

I found it very fascinating that there was a person called the Giver as well as the Receiver of Memory. I found it very interesting and exciting when Jonas reports to the Giver and receives the memories telepathically. The memories that Jonas receives are things that I experience and can identify with but seem obsolete and foreign to Jonas. I could imagine how the Giver would look like and also how the memories transmitted would seem.

I found it odd that jobs were specifically selected for the various people instead of letting them choose for themselves. It was also strange that there were selected birthmothers to give birth to babies so that couples that wanted to have children can apply them for them. It was bizarre that couples were almost “match-make” so as to have the highest chance of success and compatibility. It was the total opposite of the world that we live in where couples are brought together by love, not by the Elders of the community.

I was quite disturbed by the release of the old, repeat offenders as well as innocent babies. At first, my impression of release was that they were allowed to leave the community to live in the “Elsewhere” mentioned in the book. However, to my horror, just like Jonas, I realized that it was a system of euthanasia through a lethal injection! It was also very cold and heartless how the smaller of the twin boys was just placed in a box and thrown down the garbage chute after being injected with the lethal injection. That left a huge and deep impression on me and made me feel uneasy.

The part I enjoyed the most is when Jonas escapes from the community with Gabriel the infant to avoid Gabriel from being released. It was very exciting how Jonas crept along in the quiet and asleep community and ran away on his bicycle. I felt that I was very brave of him to do such a thing. However, I felt pained just like Jonas that he could not say his last goodbye to his good friend and companion, the Giver, and had to rush off before being noticed.

The book evoked a sense of excitement in me at the last chapter. My heart leapt and I was so excited for Jonas and Gabriel. They had finally reached the elsewhere they were looking for, the elsewhere that was actually the normal life I know of today. I felt a sense of anticipation for Jonas and Gabriel as they slid down the hill on the sled and could see lights shining through the windows of the houses.

However, I was a bit disappointed with the ending as it is ambiguous and leaves Jonas’ and Gabriel’s future unresolved, leaving me to wonder what would happen to the two of them and if they will survive.

Throughout the course of the book, I feel sympathetic towards Jonas and all the people in the community. They live in a place void of colour, music, true love, family, beauty, joy, adventure as well as emotions. Everything is uniform, controlled and almost black and white in quality.

Everything is undeniably the same. Children get the same belongings when they reach a certain year and celebrate the same “birthday” which is referred to as the “ceremony”. Everyone adheres to the rules and seems almost robotic, void of any emotion or feeling. They just follow everything the speaker says obediently and have absolutely no freedom of choice in their lives. They cannot choose their own jobs nor can they choose their spouses either. All of that is determined and decided by the council of elders.

The people as well as the community have lost contact with the ideas of family and love, where people are matched according to their personalities with others and must apply to have children, which are given birth to by birthmothers. There is no progress or change happening in the community and it remains stagnant.

Though I admit that I am one that likes things to be neat, in order and organized, I feel that enforcing it like in the book had gone too far. I felt some very strong emotions while reading the book as well.

Overall, I have enjoyed myself thoroughly reading this book and find it to be truly a priceless piece of literature. I do not mind reading it over and over again as it never fails to arouse my interest. This is my first time reading something of a science-fiction genre and how found it a very enriching experience.

I am really excited about studying and analyzing this book in depth. I cannot wait for school to reopen so that Language Arts lessons can continue so that we can start on this book! I am looking forward to learning more about this book and gaining new insights on the book that I have not realized!

1 comments Louisa :) A world not ours @ 1:51 AM

A colourless world