Welcome to Week 3 of the Online Book Club!
If you’re just joining us, head back to the first two entries from this month, so you can be up to speed on our discussion of The Giver.
This week we read chapters 9–16, chapters in which we realize what Jonas does as The Receiver. As The Receiver, Jonas is responsible for having all of the memories of the whole world transferred to him from The Giver. Some of the memories are really simple like the memory of snow or sledding. But Jonas also has to get memories that will cause pain. The most jarring memory that he receives in these chapters is the memory of war. That memory almost destroys Jonas, and that’s completely understandable given the fact that he has never really known suffering or pain, and then he is thrust into the horror of war.
Jonas also receives a great memory. The Giver gives him the memory of Christmas morning, and it is in this memory that Jonas first begins to understand the idea of love. He sees the family together, laughing and enjoying each other’s company, and this scene prompts him to ask his parents if they love him. I think it’s incredibly heartbreaking that Jonas asks his parents if they love him, and because they have been taking pills to suppress their emotions, they aren’t able to tell him that they do. Because of that, I almost find this Christmas morning memory to be as horrible as the war memory. It’s horrible because Jonas begins to see that there could be more depth of feeling involved in life, but he knows that he won’t ever get to experience it if he continues to live in his town.
Obviously, this section of the book talks a lot about memory. That got me wondering about how Lois Lowry came up with the idea for this kind of book. Luckily, I was able to find a short video on YouTube in which she explains how she got the inspiration for this novel. Please check it out if you’re interested to learn more about Lowry’s writing process.
What did you think of these chapters? Which memory did you find to be the most painful? Would you like to receive other people’s memories, or is it enough to just have your own? How do you think Jonas will act in the last part of the book now that he realizes that he is missing out by not getting to experience things like love?
I hope you’re enjoying the book! Please let me know your thoughts and impressions in the comments section.
See you next week as we talk about the last part of the book.