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text SPOILER ALERT! 2017-05-16 01:37
Freedom in The Giver - Sample Essay - by Alaina Bell Gao
The Giver - Lois Lowry,Ron Rifkin

Lois Lowry argues that freedom is precious but dangerous, and continual sacrifices are needed to preserve it.

 

Lois Lowry communicates her belief that freedom is valuable and worth fighting for, despite its dangers. Unlike the citizens of Jonas' community, she feels that the freedom of choice is worth the risks. She admits that there is an attractiveness in protecting citizens; however, she proves that there is danger in over-protectiveness, too. Realistically, she also shows in The Giver that people must continue to fight for the right to free choice and that this fight will involve many sacrifices. At the end of the novel, Jonas is free, but he is also starving and frostbit. However, Lois Lowry's word choices show that Jonas is better off with physical pain, mental exhaustion, and emotional trauma. Without choice, Jonas loses out on too much. Therefore, it is important that each reader also evaluates their communities and lives. Each reader must step up and make sacrifices to keep their society and lives in balance.

 

 

Sources Cited

 

 

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review 2017-05-15 13:52
Follows The Series Nicely
Messenger - Lois Lowry

In this, it follows the 2nd book nicely. It shows changes in the community that Matt (from the 2nd book) has run away to. He goes back and forth between communities. It shows that he has found his power and just as things are at their worst, he uses his power to save the whole community.

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review SPOILER ALERT! 2017-05-11 15:48
Book 29/100: Son by Lois Lowry
Son - Lois Lowry

Sigh ... Lowry, why did you keep writing sequels to a book that never needed any sequels?

I found Gathering Blue to be somewhat lackluster, Messenger to be pretty awful ... and for a while, I thought this one might actually be different. Maybe not different enough to redeem the whole series, but at least different enough to justify its existence.

That's because the first section of the book takes place in the same community as The Giver, and this society remains equally fascinating through another character's experience of it. It follows the experiences of Gabriel's birthmother, Claire, and shows another side of the community that is still familiar to us. For the most part, the worldbuilding in the original book is one of its strongest, most enduring qualities -- few of us will forget our first exposure to it, which was, for many in my generation, our introduction to dystopia --and the first part of this book brings us back to that well-wrought world. This book would have been stronger if Lowry had published it as a novella or short story and scrapped everything that happens after Claire leaves the community ... but that did not happen.

The other communities are far less developed than the original one, and Claire sort of muddles her way through them for a few years, dragging the reader along for a far less interesting ride than what we thought we were in for in the beginning. Also, the book gets a little bit too "magical" without any explanation. I think that's my major bone of contention with this series, the sort of unevenness between the groundedness of Jonas's community, where almost everything makes sense even if it is horrifying, and the random, unexplained "powers" and magical realism running rampant in the rest of the world. (I did reread "The Giver" recently and realize that there is a touch of this unexplained magical realism there as well, but because it is a less prominent part of the story, it's less irritating.) Also, it wasn't just the random magical-ish things that lacked explanation -- there were also major plot points that didn't seem to make sense. [Like, why was it imperative that Gabriel go after the Trademaster? Why was that designated his "job" all of a sudden? Jonas was so insistent upon it, but it seemed mostly just a convenient way to resolve the story, or to make it seem like the various threads were meant to tie together all along when really it felt like they were still unraveling.]

It also felt like the book "tried too hard" to tie together all the sequels that shouldn't have been written in the first place, and the connections just weren't strong enough to make wading through all the separate stories that got us to that point worth it. I have a lot of respect for Lowry as a writer, and I wish she hadn't wasted so much of her time and mine spinning additional stories that never really needed to be told.

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review 2017-05-08 03:38
Gathering Blue
Gathering Blue - Lois Lowry,Katherine Borowitz

 

 

Back in 2014, when I read and reviewed The Giver, I erroneously thought that book was the first in a trilogy, where the second book would pick up where the first left off.  I soon learned that there is a quartet of books, and that Gathering Blue, the second installment, while in the same "universe" as The Giver, has none of the same characters and takes place in a different community.  Jonas and Gabe from the first book apparently reappear in a later one (from some poking while trying to avoid spoilers, it appears this will happen in The Son, which is the fourth book).  After finding out all this, I wasn't sure whether I'd continue with the series.  But Gathering Blue came up in a search in my library's e-collection for available mystery audiobooks, so I decided to give it a try.  (Funny that I note in my review of the first book that it ended at mile six when I was doing a ten-mile run.  Gathering Blue ended at mile 10 if a 20-miler.)

 

I found that I liked this book better than the first, though I will say that I also found the community the characters live in implausible.  Why are people so callous about young children?  Somehow everyone is impatient with and cruel to "tykes."  One even casually comments that it would be no big deal if one of them died, because there are "too many of them."

 

Kira is a young girl with a talent for stitching elaborate needle-point type work.  Her father had died before Kira was born, reportedly "taken by beasts," and her mother recently died of illness.  Because of the illness, the cot that they shared is burnt, and a brutal neighboring woman declares that Kira should be put out in the field because she has a bad leg and the cot-space is needed to build a pen to keep in the tykes (!).  (The dead, dying and lame are put "in the field" to decompose, die, or be taken by beasts.)  Because of her talent, Kira is given a special task--she will be in charge of repairing and completing the Singer's Robe, and she is kept in comfortable quarters and given fine meals.  She soon meets other talented children in the same compound--Thomas the carver and Jo the singer (Jo is barely out of toddlerhood and therefore only has a one-syllable name; syllables come with age). 

 

So of course things are not as they seem, and one of the questions is how special, talented children come to be orphans given special jobs related to their gifts.  What stories about their past are not quite true?  What changes might they be able to effect for the future?

 

Again, the implausibilities take me out of the story somewhat--but I will probably seek out the audiobooks of the other two books, The Messenger and The Son.

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review 2017-04-08 03:07
The Giver - Lois Lowry,Ron Rifkin

I’ve read this book several times, but each time it still hooks me in. I love that it explores the concept of a society so different than ours. Everything in the community changes when Jonas becomes the receiver of memories; he has the ability to feel, see, and know things that no one else knows about. In order to help the community, Jonas plans to escape so that the truth will be revealed to everyone. His bravery and selflessness is admirable throughout the book.

 

 

In the classroom, this book is perfect for discussing themes and having older students compose opinion pieces.

 

 

  • Lexile Measure: 760L
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