The Giver by Lois Lowry Analysis
In Lois Lowry’s novel The Giver, Jonas starts off as an ignorant young boy who obediently follows the rules and expectations of his community. Nevertheless, by the novel’s resolution, Jonas has come to terms with the importance of questioning their society’s principles, even if it poses risk. Lois Lowry wants her young adolescent readers to demonstrate the dangers of not questioning our world and those in authority, regardless of the dangers they may face. She first emphasises this by introducing characters like Jonas’s father, who blindly obeys rules and commits heinous acts like murder. Then Lowry illustrates the advantages of being able to challenge unjust ideals and expectations. However, the readers of The Giver are also prompted to see that challenging our world can be threatening and difficult, as Jonas and Gabriel display. Overall, the novel's overarching point is clear: criticizing our lifestyle choices and values is significant, even when it is tough.
From the start of the novel, we see that not questioning social expectations can lead to apprehensive experiences. For instance, Jonas feels discomfort when he has to share his sexual dream at the morning ritual, but he knows it is necessary "to tell it all." Even though Jonas did not want to share his stirrings, Jonas "forced himself to relate the part that made him uneasy." If Jonas questioned obeying the rules of his community, he would not feel uneasy. Lowry wants her readers to realise that they should not follow social conventions that make themselves uncomfortable. Furthermore, there is more serious damage by following society’s rules mindlessly without questioning the harm. For example, as the novel unfolds, Jonas’s father is tasked with "releasing" a newchild who weighs smaller than the other twin. The Giver instructs Jonas to watch this “morning’s release.” At first, Jonas does not pay attention to the video, but when Jonas’s father injects a liquid into the newchild’s temple, the baby goes "limp." Jonas feels like he has a recollection of this memory and realised he felt "the choking sensation." Jonas is realising that the meaning of release is murdering a life that simply did not fit in the community’s specifications. We see Jonas experiencing "a ripping sensation" as he discovers his father has just killed an innocent baby. However, The Giver affirms that Jonas’s father is only doing "what he was told to do, and he knows nothing else." Lowry is clearly implying that we should question the world around us, or we might end up committing horrible wrongdoings as well.
Now that we have seen how damaging it can be when no one stands up to required rules and expectations, Lois Lowry then conveys how much communities can benefit when individuals are willing to challenge the standard norms and values. Jonas and The Giver discuss emotions, colours, and even love are views that no one in their community will ever understand. We are consistently shown how cold and formal "the precision of language" is, by using terms such as "Nurturers," "Assignment," and "Stirrings." Jonas is quick to realise that living in “sameness” does not have to be this way. One night, Jonas murmurs to baby Gabe, "I don’t know how, but there must be some ways for things to be different." As a result, Jonas and The Giver formulate a scheme for Jonas to flee the community in order for everyone to have an opportunity to experience these memories for themselves. The Giver believes that while it will be difficult for the community to bear these hidden memories, he will be there to "help the community to change and become whole." By refusing to follow the rules set by the committee of elders, Jonas and The Giver intend to make a significant difference in the lives of those around them, as well as to provide them with a life that is "a little more complete." In this context, Lowry explains to her readers how challenging norms and values can benefit both ourselves and those around us, making it a significant choice to decide.
However, while Lowry highlights the role of addressing society's expectations, she also emphasises that doing so is daunting and difficult. When Jonas flees the community with Gabriel, they both end up cold, starving and in need of proper shelter. In the few remaining moments of the novel, Jonas appears to be contemplating whether or not he made the "wrong" choice that left Gabe crying because he is "hungry, cold and weak." The novel's final scenes, with their harsh depictions of Jonas and Gabe's suffering and desperation, show the audience how difficult and risky it is to resist and act on the rules and expectations. As Jonas starts to lose the capability to use his memories to stay warm and motivated, he instantly realises that "there had not been a choice" because Gabe would have ended up getting released: In other words, murdered and Jonas would have had to live with the fact he would of "lived a life hungry for feelings, for colour, for love." In this way, Lois Lowry reiterates that questioning the laws and those in power, given the struggles and personal costs, is both vital and ethical.
By the end of The Giver, Lois Lowry makes it apparent to her young adult readers that it is important to understand to question our world around us and in those who lead, even if it causes risks and hardship. The actions of Jonas' father exemplify how blindly following a set of rules can lead to utterly disastrous results. Finding the confidence to challenge those in positions of leadership and their expectations, will positively impact the entire community. And while Lowry demonstrates how defying the rules can be dangerous, her novel points out it is the virtuous thing to do because of the possible positive outcome for individuals and entire communities.