The Giver by Lois Lowry Book Review
Angelina Jolie once said, “Without pain, there would be no suffering, without suffering we would never learn from our mistakes. To make it right, pain and suffering is the key to all windows, without it, there is no way of life.” In “The Giver” by Lois Lowry, their community thinks that getting rid of pain will solve society’s problems, however, the existence of pain, chance, mistakes, consequences, and failure, is what gives the human experience meaning. Without pain and suffering, we would never grow from our mistakes and learn right from wrong. Suffering promotes a ‘local’ rather than a ‘global’ attentional focus. Furthermore, while Jonas is shocked by the pain he experiences, he ultimately comes to believe that suffering and memory allow for happiness, a state of being worth striving for.
First of all, it is worth considering that pain helps you recognize pleasure. If you felt happy all the time, you would not recognize it as happiness. You need to experience the opposite end of the spectrum to be able to truly recognize and appreciate happiness. The text states, “But he knew he couldn't go back to the world of no feelings....’’ Jonas is troubled by the pain but comes to terms that his life before had no meaning. A significant example in the book is the memory of war that The Giver gives to Jonas. This shows Jonas that without pain there is no happiness either. The text states,” Overwhelmed by pain, he laid there in the fearsome stench for hours, listened to the men and animals die, and learned what welfare meant.” Jonas would now know how happiness feels since he has had a memory of pain. His perspective of life changed.
Another point worth noting is without suffering, we would never learn from our mistakes. The text states, “Why do you and I have to hold all these memories?” “It gives us Wisdom.” When you ponder on someone who exhibits wisdom, it's expected that they've had a lot of life experience. They've likely overcome great obstacles and have grown stronger from them. Furthermore, experience and hardship are often precursors of wisdom.
There are very close links between emotion and attention, and one of the important things that emotion does, to assist us in our epistemic lives, is to keep attention focused on some initiating object or event until we have a more distinct picture of our evaluating situation. The text states,” I didn’t.” I used my wisdom from the memories.” Pain and suffering promote a ‘local’ rather than a ‘global’ attentional focus.
A common counterpoint is that life without pain would make for a happier society. This is the immediate conclusion when this topic of pain comes to question, but when you look at it from a different point of view, if there is no suffering, there will be no joy. There is no meaning of love if there is no hate. How will you make peace if there are no wars? Complimentary values go hand in hand, one has no meaning without the other. We learn anything from times of peace. It is the war that teaches us the lessons of life.