Tuesday, October 26, 2010

The Giver

The Giver is written by Lois Lowry and is the winner of the John Newberry Medal. The Giver is a highly controversial science fiction novel, but is a great literary piece of be taught in the classroom.
Rating: 5 out of 5 Stars *****
Lois Lowry
Summary: Jonas lives in an artificial world where choices are limited and the citizens always follow the rules. It is a society that does not encourage diversity. There is one track, and everyone follows it, sheltering people from life’s real issues and the pain or happiness that can be felt along with it. There are no color or opportunities to go outside of what is deemed as “normal”. When Jonas meets The Giver his whole world is changed since he has the insight to a world of limitless feelings, experiences, and ideas.
The Giver is a fantastic book to teach in a classroom. This should be a book that is taught in an older middle school classroom (seventh or eighth grade). There are a lot of heavy issues such a pain, suffering, and death that can be graphic and descriptive. There is also a lot of depth to this story so students need to be at an appropriate level to think more outside the box and understand the different aspects that are incorporated into the text. This book uses very vivid imagery and descriptions to create depth and complexity. Lowry does a fantastic job at creating this artificial world that is so much different from the world that we live in today. 

I never had the experience to read The Giver when I was in school but I am glad I have had the experience to read it. It has a lot of major themes such as power, choice, pain, fear, and lack of diversity. These are all themes that students can relate to and discuss. This book can be great to parallel our society and compare and contrast the differences. How would our society be if it were similar to the society in The Giver? How would the society in the book be different it people were allow to speak about their feelings and be able to show pain and suffering? There are so many different aspects this book can take on and lead to great discussions.
I personally cannot imagine living in a society where there are no choices or variety. I think this book really speaks to students in that they should value and embrace diversity and be able to appreciate the fact that they do have the freedom to do pretty much whatever they want. Even though The Giver has a fictional plot and society, there are places in the world where freedom and diversity is limited. It is important ideas to pass down to students who may be more sheltered and less understand about the power of freedom and choice.
This book takes on a lot of typical characteristics of science fiction. It revolves around a future, artificial world and other elements such as a strong plot, well-developed characters, and themes. The plot is something that kept me intrigued with this book. I was constantly worrying about what was going to happen and what Jonas was going to do next. I think a really important element to plot is making readers want more and to continue on reading. One thing that is frustrating about this book though is the ending. It really leaves you hanging and unsure of what exactly happened to Jonas. At the same time, maybe this is just another reason why this book is so brilliant. It leaves lingering questions opened to interpretation that can spark amazing class discussions.

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