“It was almost December, and Jonas was beginning to be frightened.”
That’s the first sentence of the short, amazing book by Lois Lowry called “The Giver.” The sentence sets the sort of ominous tone from the very beginning… even though everything seems very perfect.
Take, for example, his family. His dad is a “nurturer,” which means he takes care of babies for the government approved time frame, before the babies are assigned to families. Well, I guess they call them “family units.” He has a child that he’s named Gabe – even though that’s forbidden – who isn’t thriving. His mom works at the Department of Justice. His little sister, Lily, goes to school and then to Childcare afterwards. At dinner, everyone shares about their day in a sweet and encouraging way.
In fact, it seems great. The whole community seems great – people get along, obey rules, and have roles they each fill at certain ages. Everything is predictable and precise – especially language.
As the story goes on, however, details show up that make the calm, safe community seem a little creepy. For example, there apparently are no animals in their community – but every kid has a “comfort object” that represents actual animals they’ve never seen. Also, the mom and dad didn’t seem to choose each other – they were assigned. The children aren’t their biological off-spring, but one girl and boy are assigned to each “unit.” As people age, they go through certain stages – Jonas is about to go through a ceremony that will change his life. The government will assign him and his friends a role – after they have watched them their whole lives and determined the job at which he’d be best.
I can imagine that would be very nerve-wracking!
Please e-mail this blog (Bristolsblog @ gmail dot com) so we can actually talk about these first two chapters. I might post some of the responses, so make sure you tell me your name and location.
What do you think??
- When you were reading about the family life of Jonas, did you think “that is an amazing life” or did you think “this is too good to be true?” Why?
- I hate the thought of a world without animals! Send me your pictures of animals in your life that you couldn’t do without – no matter what the government demanded! (Tweet this blog using the hashtag #TheGiver and I’ll make sure to RT you! Or, send them to me via e-mail – Bristolsblog @ gmail dot com.)
- How do you feel about being “assigned” a mate? Do you think it would make life easier or harder?
- How do you think it would be if the government raised children from birth? How does this compare to the push for government pre-school in certain states?
- Jonas seems nervous about his ceremony. Do you think life would be easier if you no longer had to strive to succeed? Instead, you were simply told what you were going to do? Why or why not?
- If older people in your community observed you, what job would they give you to do in society, and why? If you are already an adult with a job, would they have chosen the one you actually have?
Also, see Chapter 3 and 4
To read more about my book club — or to join! — click here.