Ep059 The Giver by Lois Lowry

The Giver by Lois Lowry

In our final mini-series featuring Middle Grade Science Fiction and Fantasy, Reid and Isaac discuss The Giver by Lois Lowry. The Giver follows Jonas, a young man who comes of age to take his role as “the receiver,” and as such learns the perfect world he has been living in comes at a cost and may not be as perfect as expected. The world of The Giver is one where structure and bureaucratic adherence is required, and Jonas slowly begins a small rebellion to save the life of a child and bring awareness to others in his society.

Discussed in this Episode

  • Structure of this dystopian novel: thesis, antithesis, synthesis. Thesis portraying to the world building of the dystopian world. Antithesis presented as the memories Jonas receives, and the additional knowledge and emotion he is allowed to feel. Synthesis as conveyed as the conflict and choices Jonas makes to try to bring about change to the society–via running away and releasing the memories that he has received.
  • Conveying of emotion. Lowry is exceptional at conveying emotion, and two moments stood out. At about the 2/3 point there is a death scene where twins are presented and one is to be “released” and one is to go on and grow up in the society. At about the 1/2 point, the previous “receiver” requests to be released and the aftermath that The Giver feels as such.
  • Structure of conveying sadness and tragic realization (specifically the twins scene): Expectation vs reality and dramatic reversal. Early in the story we are introduced to the house of the elderly and what “release” is. Release is conveyed as a positive good. Then in the scene with the twins it is a sterile, cold, distant description of showing death. Use of words related to discarding. And when the twin is released there is little to no embellishment. The reader is left with a hollow feeling. This is also an example of an unfair injury where an innocent is bombarded with something horrible, and the infant, who has done nothing, is murdered for realistically no reason. Also mirrored in the death of the infant is the death of Jonas’s innocence.
  • The similar plot structures of We by Yevgeny Zamyatin, Brave New World by Aldous Huxley, and The Giver. Each book contains a moment similar to what follows immediately after the death of the infant in The Giver, a beat where the protagonist tries to speak with others. In the Giver Jonas tries to have a serious conversation with his father, but his father does not understand. Jonas is left feeling defeated. In Brave New World the protagonist ends up inciting a riot, but is similarly defeated.
  • The sparse world building not only focuses the story and makes the world more digestible from a middle-grade perspective, but the sparse world building allows for a showing of the monochromatic world. In comparison The Bad Beginning described many different aspects of the world (such as descriptions of houses) whereas The Giver kept descriptions to a minimal (houses were described as just being houses).

Upcoming Episodes

Announcing Leave it to the Prose – The Next Chapter, an occasional sequel series dedicated to mutli-book collections of Science Fiction / Fantasy. Our first Next Chapter collection of books is the Red Rising (original) Series by Pierce Brown, where we will be diving into Red Rising, Golden Son, and Morning Star. Episodes of The Next Chapter begin next week with a release of our review of Red Rising.

  • 3/8/21 – Leave it to the Prose – The Next Chapter: Red Rising by Pierce Brown (Re-Release)
  • 3/15/21 – Episode 60, Macbeth by Shakespeare
  • 3/22/21 – Leave it to the Prose – The Next Chapter: Golden Son by Pierce Brown
  • 3/29/21 – Episode 61, Read-through of Fantasy Magazine 63. (Read Ahead here)
  • 4/5/21 – Leave it to the Prose – The Next Chapter: Morning Star by Pierce Brown
  • 4/12/21 – Episode 62, Short Stories of Usman T Malik (The Vaporization Enthalpy of a Peculiar Pakistani Family, The Wandering City)

Middlegrade Re-Read Series



About Reid

Reid is your aspiring author host. He's often found pen in hand drafting new stories. A regular NaNoWriMo competitor. There just aren't enough hours in a day for this Capricorn.