The Giver, By Lois Lowry: Decisions And Personal Empowerment

1163 words - 5 pages

Lois Lowry’s The Giver considers something the world takes for granted: personal empowerment. These simple day-to-day decisions create what the world is. Without self-empowerment and right to believe in a personal decision, what is the human race? The world can only imagine, as Lois Lowry does in The Giver. She asks: What if everything in life was decided by others? What if spouses, children, the weather, education, and careers were chosen based upon the subjects’ personality? What if it didn’t matter what the subject thought? Jonas, the Receiver, lives here. He eats, sleeps, and learns in his so-called perfect world until he meets the Giver, an aged man, who transmits memories of hope, pain, color, and love. Jonas then escapes his Community with a newborn child (meant to be killed), hoping to find a life of fulfillment. On the way, he experiences pain, sees color, and feels love. Irony, symbolism, and foreshadowing are three literary devices used to imply the deeper meaning of The Giver.

One literary element that is cleverly written into the novel is irony. Jonas’ life is supposedly perfect, in an environment with everyone’s life controlled and documented by the Elders. The weather, the marriages, the child selection, the population, and the education are decided by the Elders. Even the career is provided for them; each December at the Ceremony of 12, the new recruits receive the career that they will continue with for the rest of their working adult life’s’. The job Jonas receives is the most difficult one, the Receiver, who has the duty of containing all of the intense experiences of life. Ironically, Jonas doesn’t enjoy this; he instead feels that the job is too painful for him. Yet the Elders’ decisions, although chosen with each individual’s personality in mind, do not seem to satisfy Jonas. His job is full of constant anguish and memories of war and death, although the happy ones are full of pure joy. Jonas...“didn’t want the memories, didn’t want the honor, didn’t want the wisdom, and didn’t want the pain (Lowry 121). Lois Lowry uses this to portray that personal decisions are important, and if they are made by someone else, then no power is gained. This element adds to the story by creating the idea of how decisions based on fact do not create the desired effect, rather the opposite. Personal empowerment does, however. Only the subject truly knows what they want, regardless of what fact otherwise implies. As Jonas states, “I want to wake up in the morning and decide things! A blue tunic, or a red one? I know it’s not important, what you wear. It doesn’t matter. But it’s the choosing that’s important” (Lowry 97-98). Decisions are one thing that create a sense of power, a crucial element in society. This power cannot be underestimated.

In addition to irony, symbolism is also a literary device that is used in The Giver. The Giver is a symbol for all knowledge. He contains the past, present and future in his mind. One would speculate...

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