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HMN January 7th, 2009 3:38 am

The Giver and other books by Lois Lowry
 
I was wondering if anyone would like to discuss The Giver and other books by Lois Lowry. I have just finished The Giver and thought it an excellent read. I am particularly curious about your interpretation of the ending of the story.

I am about to start Number the Stars, and am considering reading the later written companion books to The Giver - Gathering Blue and Messenger.


About the GiverThe book's setting seems to be a utopia where all possible steps are taken to eliminate pain. The people are almost always compliant; families share their dreams and feelings on a daily basis to diffuse emotional buildup.
This society remains harmonious by assigning jobs to each individual according to a laborious evaluation of their skill, and by matching up husbands and wives based on compatibility of personality. Technology has only a minimal role in the society. Transportation is mostly limited to bicycles; however, cars and planes exist in small numbers.

The Giver is currently in pre-production for a movie version and is slated for release in 2011. It is to be directed by David Yates.

Discussion points for The Giver.

1. The Giver pictures a community in which every person and his or her experience is precisely the same. The climate is controlled, and competition has been eliminated in favor of a community in which everyone works only for the common good. What advantages might "sameness" have for a community? Is the loss of diversity worthwhile?

2. Discuss the idea of "release". What are the advantages and disadvantages to a community that accepts such a practice?

3. The world in The Giver stresses that words should be used in a special way. They stress what it calls "precision of language." In fact it is built upon language that is not precise but deliberately clouds meaning. What is the danger of use of such misleading language?

4. The ending of The Giver has been interpreted in a few different ways. Perhaps Jonas is remembering the beautiful Christmas memory the Giver transmitted to him as he and Gabriel are freezing to death. Or perhaps Jonas does hear music and, using his ability to "see beyond," is able to perceive the warm house with people waiting to greet him. What evidence supports each interpretation.

Voldemorts8thHorcrux January 7th, 2009 3:50 am

Re: The Giver and other books by Lois Lowry
 
i read both the Giver and Number the Stars. While Louis Lowry is a pretty good author, i never found the works anything I particularly obsessed over. It didn't really have that....wow factor that some other books i've read had. Still very very good reads, but i've read them too long ago :lol:

PureBloodGirl January 7th, 2009 4:40 am

Re: The Giver and other books by Lois Lowry
 
I'm a huge fan of her's. Gathering Blue was kind of strange, but then again some of her books are very strange. Number the Stars is by far my absolute favorite of her's.

Cool! I'd like to see The Giver made into a movie. I'll have to re-read it then, though, because I'll have forgotten it.

Vita January 7th, 2009 7:02 am

Re: The Giver and other books by Lois Lowry
 
I wasnt too much of a fan of this book. I think it's a watered down version of 1984 (which is one of my favorite books of all time) I think The Giver is more aimed at a younger crowd and had I read it first and had been younger I might have enjoyed it better. I think it's a well written book and I would absolutely never discourage anyone from reading it but I just think 1984 dystopian society portrayed more relevant messages.

kuroi_shi January 7th, 2009 9:35 am

Re: The Giver and other books by Lois Lowry
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by PureBloodGirl (Post 5214491)
I'm a huge fan of her's.

.. Hers? ... I thought the author was a dude !! O.O

... Anyway... I read The Giver when I was in grade 6, which was about 13 years ago, and I really liked it =) .. I'd love to read it again, but considering I was 11 the 1st time I read it, I'm afraid it will be too kiddish, and won't be as interesting the second time.. (Yea, I know that sounds dumb coming from an HP fan, but meh)

Spacecadet January 7th, 2009 6:38 pm

Re: The Giver and other books by Lois Lowry
 
Wow I read the giver a long time ago. I remember really enjoying it even though i cant remember too many details from the book currently. I may have to consider a reread of the book.

PureBloodGirl January 8th, 2009 12:03 am

Re: The Giver and other books by Lois Lowry
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by kuroi_shi (Post 5214534)
.. Hers? ... I thought the author was a dude !! O.O

Oh, really? Woops! Okay, his.

kuroi_shi January 8th, 2009 4:02 pm

Re: The Giver and other books by Lois Lowry
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by PureBloodGirl (Post 5214882)
Oh, really? Woops! Okay, his.

.. No.. You were right.. =)
I was just surprised to discover that someone I thought was a dude for 13 years turned out to be female O.O

HMN January 8th, 2009 6:09 pm

Re: The Giver and other books by Lois Lowry
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Voldemorts8thHorcrux (Post 5214481)
i read both the Giver and Number the Stars. While Lois Lowry is a pretty good author, i never found the works anything I particularly obsessed over. It didn't really have that....wow factor that some other books i've read had. Still very very good reads, but i've read them too long ago :lol:

Of course, seeing my age, these books weren't yet written when I was a middle-schooler :lol: but I've been discovering some great books in looking for things for my daughter to read.

The Giver and Number the Stars prompted a discussion about children's literature with a teacher friend of mine. She has taught The Giver to 5th graders, with the big question: How did you interpret the ending of the story. But her observation is this - in children's literature events happen very quickly. They just jump out at you with very little build up and forshadowing.

This happens in The Giver, in one chapter we hear about how one of the baby twins will be "Released" and in the next chapter we see it happen. And there is only a few pages from when Jonas sees things 'change' to when he learns that the change is seeing color. There is no dwelling on the topic. Which is what sets The Giver apart from a book like 1984.

I think this idea is also what gives books like HP an 'all ages' appeal. The subject matter is one that any kid can relate to, but you have the build up of events, the details of the character's lives and forshadowing that goes several books deep.

freelantzer January 10th, 2009 9:54 am

Re: The Giver and other books by Lois Lowry
 
I've read The Giver, Gathering Blue, and Messenger. I suggest you read them in that order if you plan to read them all. Gathering Blue is its own world, completely seperate from the world of The Giver. But Messenger incorporates elements (and characters, if I remember correctly) from both of those worlds. Its really pretty interesting how she's done it. And the question about the ending of The Giver is pretty definitively answered in Messenger. I kind of wish she had left it open-ended, actually, and not felt the need to answer that question for her readers. It's kind of nice to speculate and look at both sides.

I enjoyed all of the books, but I have to say Gathering Blue was my least favorite. I can't decide if I perfer The Giver or Messenger. It's been a long time since I've read them. But I do love reading books like this. I read them as an adult and did not find them too simplistic. But, as a teacher, I am used to and really enjoy reading young adult literature.

Spacecadet January 13th, 2009 2:23 pm

Re: The Giver and other books by Lois Lowry
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by freelantzer (Post 5216271)
I've read The Giver, Gathering Blue, and Messenger. I suggest you read them in that order if you plan to read them all. Gathering Blue is its own world, completely seperate from the world of The Giver. But Messenger incorporates elements (and characters, if I remember correctly) from both of those worlds. Its really pretty interesting how she's done it. And the question about the ending of The Giver is pretty definitively answered in Messenger. I kind of wish she had left it open-ended, actually, and not felt the need to answer that question for her readers. It's kind of nice to speculate and look at both sides.


wow i didnt realize there was more to the giver story so to speak. But i do remember reading the end and saying what happens next. Hmm that might be interesting to check out.

clemxens January 14th, 2009 1:42 pm

Re: The Giver and other books by Lois Lowry
 
By her, I've read:

The Giver - Favorite of hers
Gathering Blue - Second favorite
Messenger - Third favorite
Number the Stars - Least favorite

RemusLupinFan January 14th, 2009 4:56 pm

Re: The Giver and other books by Lois Lowry
 
I've only read The Giver, and it was a really long time ago, so I don't remember much but very basic things about the book. I also had no idea that there were any books that continued the world of The Giver, but then again, I really haven't kept up with Lowry's work. I may have to read The Giver and the other two books that come after it one of these days. I do remember enjoying the book when I read it, but I recall that it didn't end satisfactorily for me.

hermy_weasley2 January 14th, 2009 6:10 pm

Re: The Giver and other books by Lois Lowry
 
I was required to read the The Giver in seventh grade and enjoyed it. I knew about Number the Stars but not about the ones that go beyond The Giver. I might read them someday as well.


4. The ending of The Giver has been interpreted in a few different ways. Perhaps Jonas is remembering the beautiful Christmas memory the Giver transmitted to him as he and Gabriel are freezing to death. Or perhaps Jonas does hear music and, using his ability to "see beyond," is able to perceive the warm house with people waiting to greet him. What evidence supports each interpretation?


It's been a long time since I've read the book, but I remember thinking maybe he is already dead when he sees this, as if the Christmas memory exists in the afterlife for him. But, it was in seventh grade, and I may not be remembering correctly.

freelantzer January 15th, 2009 4:09 am

Re: The Giver and other books by Lois Lowry
 
^ Yes, a lot of people interpret that ending as death. It really is pretty fantastic, the debate and discussion generated by the ambiguity of the ending. I think it's too bad, really, that she's settled this debate for her readers in Messenger.

HMN May 8th, 2009 1:47 am

Re: The Giver and other books by Lois Lowry
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by freelantzer (Post 5218895)
^ Yes, a lot of people interpret that ending as death. It really is pretty fantastic, the debate and discussion generated by the ambiguity of the ending. I think it's too bad, really, that she's settled this debate for her readers in Messenger.

It's the old 'curiosity killed the cat' problem. I found the same thing happened with The City of Ember. I wanted to know how life continued for the characters, but it was best left unwritten. I like unsettling endings where it leaves you thinking but find that given the choice, I will seek out the author's intention. I just can't let it go. :)

BubblyShell22 May 21st, 2009 7:34 pm

Re: The Giver and other books by Lois Lowry
 
I've never read The Giver, but I have read Number The Stars. That's my favorite book because of what Lowry portrays in it.

freelantzer May 23rd, 2009 4:45 am

Re: The Giver and other books by Lois Lowry
 
^I've never read that one. I'd like to; it's probably a good companion to Night, which I teach. Thanks for the reminder; I'll check it out this summer.

HMN May 26th, 2009 5:19 am

Re: The Giver and other books by Lois Lowry
 
I really liked Number the Stars. I especially liked that it was from the point of view from a country on the periphery, and towards the end of the war. It was frightening in many ways, but very age appropriate for younger readers.

Along with what I posted earlier, I couldn't let The Giver go, and found myself reading Gathering Blue and The Messenger. I should have stopped at Gathering Blue, which was a good read, but I really didn't like The Messenger at all.

I was disappointed that she went from believable post-apocalyptic type societies in The Giver and Gathering Blue to a fantastical novel in The Messenger. I wanted the Forest to metaphorically destroy people, and not be actually trying to harm. I thought the book would have been much more powerful if the 'illusion' she mentions earlier in the book was actually an illusion. And I wish she resolved the Trade Mart subplot better. It was sort of mentioned and then left it there hanging.

Gathering Blue had some great aspects to it - the idea of freedom and privilege getting turned on its head and the idea of leaders controlling a society through fear.

Wizzzardree June 5th, 2009 11:49 pm

Re: The Giver and other books by Lois Lowry
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by PureBloodGirl (Post 5214491)

Cool! I'd like to see The Giver made into a movie. I'll have to re-read it then, though, because I'll have forgotten it.

It's been a while since I've read it, but I remember loving the book. One of the few force-fed middle school books that most if not all of us complaining kids truly liked.

And Bloodgirl,....you might be interested in clicking THIS


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