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The Giver Summary Essay

982 words - 4 pages

The Giver is written from Jonas’s confusion, excitement, glory, and discoveries. Jonas is a twelve-year-old boy living in a futuristic civilization that has eliminated all pain, fear, love, and free will. There is no chauvinism, since everyone looks and acts basically the same, and there are no “important” choices to be made, also, everyone is consistently polite. The “perfect” society Jonas lives in has also abolished choice: At age twelve every member of the community is assigned a job based on his or her abilities and interests. Citizens can apply for compatible spouses, who are assigned to them based on interests and jobs and each couple is allowed to receive exactly two children each. (Notice that I said receive, not give birth to.) In addition to that, spouses don’t show any signs of love or affection, just the word love, even when pointed at their children, makes them burst in laughter and explanations! Citizens who break rules or fail to adapt properly to the society’s codes of behavior are “released”. Everything is planned and organized so that life is as convenient and pleasant as possible, or so they think.
Jonas lives with his father who is a Nurturer of new children, his mother, and his seven-year-old sister Lily. At the beginning of the novel, he is apprehensive about the upcoming Ceremony of Twelve, when he will be given his job that cannot be altered or changed, which officially presents him as a new adult member of the community. He doesn’t have a single idea about what occupation he wants to take up his time with, although he enjoys volunteering at a variety of different jobs. Though he is a well-behaved citizen and a good student, Jonas is different: he has pale eyes, while most people in his community have dark eyes, and he has “unusual powers of perception”. Sometimes objects “change” when he looks at them. He does not know it yet, but he alone in his community with can perceive flashes of color, unlike everyone else seeing in only black or white. For everyone else, the world is as devoid of color as it is of pain, hunger, choices, and love.
At the Ceremony of Twelve, Jonas is given the highly honored Assignment of Receiver of Memory. The Receiver is the sole keeper of the community’s collective memory. No one but the Receiver can bear the pain and amazement that Jonas’s community works hard to shield others from. Jonas receives the memories of the past, good and bad, from the current Receiver, a wise old man who tells Jonas to call him the Giver. The Giver transmits memories to Jonas by placing his hands on Jonas’s bare back. The first memory he receives is of an exhilarating sled ride. As Jonas receives memories from the Giver, memories of pleasure and pain, of bright colors and extreme cold and warm sun, of...

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