The Giver Book Club – Chapters 11 through 15: The Choice

THE GIVER

Welcome to my first ever book club!  We’re reading “The Giver” by Lois Lowry together, in preparation for the August 15th movie based on the book!

If you missed it:

Chapters 1 – 2

Chapters 3 – 5

Chapters 6 – 8

Chapters 9 – 10

I don’t know about you, but I found it super creepy how The Receiver gave Jonas his memories.  (Public service announcement: Kids, if a strange man tells you to take off your tunic and lay down on the bed, call the cops!)  Anyway, Jonas does just that, and he receives his first memory.

A sled.

Only as he experiences these radically new things do we realize how uneventful and boring the actual community is.  We learn they have chosen “climate control,” they’ve somehow gotten rid of all the hills, all color, and everything that could make people different.

The color is one thing that Jonas wishes they hadn’t given up.

“We gained control of many things,” the older receiver, now called The Giver, said.  “But we had to let go of others.”

Jonas dislikes that the community has chosen “sameness” over individuality, and says he wishes people had the chance to choose.

That’s when The Giver reminds him.  They did choose.  They simply chose sameness.

From now on, The Giver has to give Jonas increasingly more challenging memories.  He sees a sad elephant hunt that results in a death – he’s never seen or experienced or even contemplated death before, so it really affects Jonas.  He even sees war.

Suddenly understanding the depth of pain makes Jonas despair.  But it also makes him lonely.  He realizes he’ll never be the same again, and he attempts to show people around him some of the things he sees.  He tries, in his own way, to transfer memories to his sister and her dad, but they aren’t receptive.  In fact, the only person who “gets” these memories is baby Gabe, who is sleeping in his room now.  Jonas is able to calm the child just through transferring memories to him.

None of his friends or family will ever understand, he realizes.  This makes him feel even lonelier.

He and The Giver talk openly about their plight.  Is it better to have peace and comfort or freedom and individuality?

Even though The Giver has become cynical about the whole thing, Jonas is bound and determined to figure out a way to bring freedom to the community.

Questions:

These chapters are amazing in that they really start to show the stark contrast between freedom and the government-controlled peace.  Do you think it’s interesting that Jonas wants people to understand the pain he’s felt?  Describe how pain can actually be good.

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