by Erin K. | | 4 Comments | Tags:

Welcome to Week 2 of the Online Book Club!

Like I mentioned last week, we’re reading The Giver this month. You can borrow a copy of the book or movie from one of our community libraries, or download them from our digital services, Hoopla and OverDrive.

In the first eight chapters of the book, we’re introduced to the Jonas and his family, and we start to understand how his town works. From the beginning, we see that children enter into a selection process, and this process decides what kinds of jobs children will do as they continue to get older. We also see that there are lots of rules that the people have to follow. They are instructed about what clothes to wear, they have to be really careful to use correct words and phrases, and all adults and teenagers in puberty must take a pill that suppresses “The Stirrings.”

Even though nothing really creepy or alarming happens in this first part of the book, I find it to be incredibly disturbing. First of all, I am incredibly wary of books that contain this kind of selection process. Whenever I read about these kinds of scenes, I immediately think about myself and how I would be placed, and it makes me feel really stressed out. I really can’t imagine how I would end up in one of these selections. I read a lot, and I like to write, so I wonder if I would be put in some sort of office job that would require me to read and write. I would like to think that I could work in a library, but Jonas’s society didn’t really seem like the reading type, so I don’t really think they would have a library. Did you try to imagine what kind of job you would like to have? I felt like the Nurturers had a pretty cool job at first, just because they got to hang out with kids and play games all day.

I was also really creeped out by the pill that all of the adults have to take. It is just incredibly weird to think about all of us taking a pill that would change our emotions or stop us from feeling something like love. That is just so intrusive—I can’t even fathom it. What did you think that of that section of the book?

In the last part of chapter eight, Jonas learns that he is going to be The Receiver. He doesn’t really understand what that means yet, but he knows that it is different from what everyone else does. Do you have a guess as to what The Receiver would do? When I first read this book, I couldn’t really imagine what a Receiver would do, but maybe you guys are better readers than I and could guess what his job will entail.

So, what are your thoughts? What parts of the society did you think were the weirdest? Do you have any idea how the book will end?

For those watching the movie, does the movie match up pretty well with the things I described above?

I hope you’ll let me know what you think in the comments section. And, I hope to hear from you again next week as we read the next eight chapters.


4 Responses to “The Giver: Week 2”

  1. Carrol

    This book certainly stretches my comfort zone. Learning about a civilization like this that chooses the specific role each person will play made me really sad. I know the selection committee tried to match an appropriate job to each person after careful observation, but I just worried about what each would get. They had absolutely no say in the decision.

    I really felt sorry for Jonas as he waited to get his assignment. Everyone grew anxious because it appeared as though a mistake happened, but this is a place where everything is so carefully planned out to avoid errors like that. I could feel Jonas’s growing anxiety as the people started looking at him. Poor Jonas. He had no idea what was in store for him.

    The word Receiver sounds promising to me. It appeared as though Jonas’s assignment would be very special, so I assume he will “receive” something really good.

    When the Chief Elder thanked Jonas for his childhood at the end of chapter 8, I felt so sad. He was too young to give up playing with his friends to take on such a big responsibility.

    • Erin K.

      Carrol, I think the part of the kids giving up their childhoods is so sad. They are still so young–it’s sad that they have to now live as adults.

      I just know that I would be so incredibly anxious if I were waiting to hear my fate for a career. It would just be so weird to have someone else decide how I should use my talents.

      Thanks for writing this week. You always have an interesting perspective!

  2. Jane Engle

    From the beginning of this book and the reaction when a jet is sighted, the reader is aware of a society and world that are unlike ours. Emphasis is placed on the term “being released” which is described as being a grim statement, terrible punishment and overwhelming statement of failure. Strict rules of behavior and adherence to them are emphasized. Someone who has broken rules three times is released, never mentioned again and their disgrace is unspeakable. I couldn’t help but wonder what this meant. Is the person banished from the community to fend for themselves or systematically killed to preserve what is considered to be proper and acceptable.
    We learn every newchild’s physical and emotional needs are met by a Nurturer and every newchild’s release is sad. Again does this mean they died? Instead of being given a name, initially they are given a number indicating their age and ranking. Fifty children are in each age group and they are named at the same time every year when given to a family unit. Standardized behavior is emphasized until the age of twelve. Upon reaching that age, differences are honored and individuals are placed in groups according to what jobs they will be trained for and assume in the future. These assignments are made by a Committee of Elders. I noted again that conformity is acceptable but individuality is rarely allowed..
    In learning about possible assignments we are given more details about reproduction and disdain for Birthmothers No mention is even given to Birthfathers. As a result, when Jonas notices himself, Gabriel and The Giver having pale eyes, I couldn’t help but wonder if that meant they were related. When Jonas has his dream involving Fiona, he is immediately given pills to take because he has “Stirrings.” Do the pills suppress sexual feelings and is this the standardized way of dealing with them?
    When accepting his assignment as Receiver of Memory, the acceptance of extreme physical pain is stressed. By also considering what other attributes were necessary for the position, the living conditions and uniqueness, my thoughts immediately went to something having to do with time travel. I am now looking forward to learning more about what will take place as I read further.

    • Erin K.

      What great observations, Jane! I totally didn’t even think of the fact that birth fathers aren’t mentioned! I wonder who is given the task of being the birth father?

      The first time I read, I had the same questions about the release ceremony as you do. the word release made me imagine that the people were put in a pod and sent into space or something.

      I can’t wait for you to read he next section! I think a few of your questions will be answered!

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