by Erin K. | | 4 Comments | Tags:

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.


4 Responses to “The Giver: Week 3”

  1. Jane Engle

    What is most painful to me is when Jonas realizes he does not know who is, like him, allowed to lie. Everything and everyone he knows now comes into question. The concept of uncertainty would be fearful and extremely hard with which to cope. His sense of safety and security would be shattered.
    While I would not like to receive others’ memories, I would want to be aware of what others have experienced. In this way my knowledge would be increased and I would become more aware and better informed.
    As a result of his training as a Receiver, Jonas realizes there is more to life than what he can experience within his community. I think that by knowing this, he will choose to leave and expand his environment and experiences.
    Thanks for your post about the author’s personal experiences that influenced her writing of this book. Having dealt with my parents’ memory problems prior to their deaths and my own as a result of multiple TIAs, it is most disconcerting to realize that certain things cannot be recalled. Being able to read a book and remember its details long enough to complete it is an accomplishment for me. That is why I choose to and enjoy being a part of this online book club.

    • Erin K.

      Jane, thanks for giving your personal connection to the book! I think you do way more than just remember the book from week to week–you are great at analyzing, and you always bring up such interesting points! You bring so much to the discussion!

      I feel like with his new knowledge and experiences, I can’t imagine that Jonas could just stay in the community as it is. I think it would be impossible for him to continue living with the other people since he knows that so much that they do is based on a lie.

      I felt like I was able to better understand the book once I read how Lois Lowry thought up the concept. I’m glad you enjoyed the video, too!

      Thanks again for commenting! See you next week!

  2. Carrol

    I definitely know I would not want to be a Receiver. It is difficult enough for me to deal with some of my own painful memories like losing my father when I was only 7 and my great-grandmother who was so instrumental to my growing up years. I felt so sad at the parts where the Giver is physically ill and unable to function because of the heavy burden he has to carry. Even Jonas became aware of the “signs” he observed in the Giver when he couldn’t function properly.

    Jonas is feeling so much right now. I can’t imagine that he will obey the rules laid out before him without a fight.

    Thank you for the video clip. I thought it was very interesting to hear Lowry explain the process she went through to write this book. She did a great job creating each of these characters. I am so drawn to Jonas and the Giver.

    • Erin K.

      Thanks for sharing your personal connection to the story, Carrol. I, too, find it hard enough to deal with personal memories, so I don’t think I would like to have the weight of the whole world on my shoulders. I think the thing that would make Jonas’s job even harder is the fact that he has to bear these memories in silence! He can share with the Giver, but he can’t share with family or friends.

      I can’t believe that Lowry was able to create such a rich world and story from that one little idea. She is so interesting–I had never heard her speak before watching this video clip, so I definitely enjoyed “getting to know her better!”

      Thanks for chiming in again this week! See you next week.

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