Presentation on theme: "The Giver Lois Lowery. Background Published in 1993, The Giver reflects some of the social criticism of the times. Abortion, family ethics, euthanasia,"— Presentation transcript:
Background Published in 1993, The Giver reflects some of the social criticism of the times. Abortion, family ethics, euthanasia, and assisted suicide are all issues that were hotly debated in the 1990s. Lowry deals with these issues by creating a seemingly perfect society that never experiences any of the unpleasant realities of life. Like its predecessors Brave New World and 1984, The Giver is Lowry’s attempt to criticize reality by creating a utopian society. As we read, we discover that the act of controlling a society is often worse than the disappointments it is meant to eliminate. We quickly realize that this utopian society is really dystopian. However, Lowry’s society, unlike the others, offers some hope in the end.
Setting Lois Lowry’s The Giver is set in an imaginary world during an unspecified time. The community in the novel is isolated and seemingly utopian in nature, with no pain, illness, or color. Each individual has a designated place in society. Many of the unique traits and rituals that set people apart in other societies have been eliminated. The author is deliberately vague in further defining the setting, for to narrow it down any more specifically would detract from the ominous atmosphere of this society of “Sameness.”
Characters Jonas: He is the main character. The Committee of Elders chooses Jonas to become the next Receiver of Memory. Jonas’ assignment distances him from his family and friends and forever changes the way he looks at life in the community. Lily: She is Jonas’ sister. She’s a talkative and simple child. Jonas’ mother: She works at the Department of Justice. Her job involves handing out punishment to community members who break one of the many rules. Jonas’ father: Because of his nurturing qualities, he is chosen to work as a Nurturer.
Characters Asher: He is Jonas’ best friend. He’s a boy who frequently uses imprecise language, a punishable offense in the community. He enjoys making up making up games and is assigned the job of Assistant Director of Recreation. Fiona: Fiona is gentle and caring with the Old; she is assigned the job of Caretaker of the Old. Larissa: Larissa lives in the House of the Old. She tells Jonas of two “releases.” Chief Elder: She is the leader of the community. Rosemary: Rosemary was selected as the new Receiver of Memory before Jonas. She lasted only five weeks before she requested release.
Characters Committee of Elders: They make sure that all rules are followed and occasionally asks The Giver for his opinion about the rules. They are responsible for assigning all jobs at the Ceremony of Twelve. The Committee of Elders is responsible for bringing sameness to the community. Gabriel: He is the “newchild” that Jonas’ father brings home to live with the family. He has light eyes like Jonas. The Giver: The Giver has pale eyes like Jonas. He is an old man who appears to be much older than his actual age. His job as Receiver of Memory, although a position of honor, has caused him to live with great pain and loneliness.
Synopsis Eleven-year-old Jonas seems to live in a perfect community. Everything is very well planned, and the community takes care of all needs. No one ever feels pain, sadness, or hunger. There is no competition between the children in school, and the Committee of Elders assigns a career to each child. The Committee has many rules designed to keep the community running smoothly. After careful study, the Committee selects which men will marry which women. Every couple is presented with one male and one female child. Only fifty children are born each year. It seems to be a perfect place to live. At the annual December ceremony where each age group receives its new privileges and responsibilities, Jonas and his agemates receive their adult assignments. Jonas feels apprehensive before the Ceremony because he has no idea what his assignment will be. When the Committee chooses him to serve as Receiver of Memory, his life changes dramatically. People begin to act differently toward him. As Jonas enters training with The Giver, he begins to see the real consequences of the perfect life of the community.
Welcome to Utopia Utopia is a “place of ideal perfection, especially in laws, government, and social conditions.” Dystopia is an “imaginary place where people lead dehumanized and often fearful lives.”
Who invented rules? No one knows for sure when the first “rule” was invented. There have been formal rules for people to follow since ancient times. Golden Rule- “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” Bushido- unwritten code that guided the samurai Gravitas- a traditional rule of dignity that Roman citizens were expected to live by
Watching your words Early in the novel, we learn that the citizens of Jonas’ world are taught to use precise language. Not only are rules and apologies recited in unison at school, but students carefully choose the right adjectives to describe certain situations or what they are thinking or feeling. This makes the use of connotation and euphemism important tools in Jonas’ world, as well as ours.
Euphemism A euphemism is a word or term that has mild or vague connotations and that serves to mask the offensiveness or harshness of the actual word or term. What euphemisms are used in our society? Example: A used car being called “certified pre-owned” Think of two other examples of your own.
Connotation The connotations of a word are the suggestions and associations that go along with the word, stretching beyond its dictionary meaning. Notice the first sentence of the novel. “It was almost December and Jonas was beginning to be frightened.” The word December is rich in connotations: cold, darkness, the death that comes to plants in winter. The opposite of connotation is DENOTATION, or the dictionary definition of a word. Every word has both a denotation and a connotation.
About the Author The Giver was inspired in part by Lowry’s relationship with her father who was, at that time, in a nursing home having lost most of his long-term memory. She realized one day while visiting her father that, without memory, there is no pain, and began to imagine a society in which the past was deliberately forgotten. The flaws in that supposedly ideal society show the need for personal and societal memory and for making connections with the past and with each other.