Lois Lowry does a great job of completely engaging the reader in this story. The meaning of the “precision of language,” the odd recalled memories, and the speaker telling everyone what to do is quite odd at the beginning of the story. Jonas, an eleven year old boy, is living in a futuristic town and is feeling… apprehensive, as he would call it… for the Ceremony of Twelve. For each year as the people in his Community grow up one year, there is a ceremony where something happens to them. At eight years old, you get a jacket with pockets signifying maturity to hold onto your own things. At nine, you get a bicycle with your name on it. (Bicycles are the only transportation within the Community.) At Twelve, you get assigned your job; that is what Jonas is apprehensive about.
The ceremony goes more quickly than he thought and when each twelve year old boy or girl is assigned his or her role, the community elders skip over him. Only at the end they announce his assignment. He is assigned something very special… to work with The Giver. Jonas learns that not only will he have his lifetime job to be with The Giver and replace his job, but also experience the pain of the memories transmitted to him. Two big themes I found important in this story were love and conformity, which always remind me of the song “All you need is Love” by the Beatles. This conveys the message being told in the story—all you really need is love and a bond between you and someone else.
When I finished this book, I was not completely satisfied, but very moved. I felt that this is not how our future should look. The conflict between Jonas’s knowledge and the transmitted memories was very interesting. I would recommend this book to any middle and high schoolers who have some time on their hands to really get the gist of the book. Have fun!
Maya S., 6th grade