I had heard a few things about The Giver by Lois Lowry and it sounded like a unique plot, so I gave it a try. That was one of the best decisions I've ever made. The Giver is a masterfully crafted work. The characters are developed well. Literary devices are used carefully and the diction is used to invoke the necessary feelings. The Giver is the best book I've read in a long time and I hope this discussion will give you a desire to read it.
Character development is difficult. The writer must let the audience know what the character thinks and feels without just saying it, but making them feel it. Sometimes characters can seem shallow with not enough information to make the reader feel complete. Other times there are so many characters that it feels as if the reader knows a little about everyone, but still there is not enough development to have an emotional connection with the character. And still some authors bog the character down with to much detail. Jonas, the main character, has just enough. The reader knows what he needs to, yet there are still unknown parts of his life. The only other character that is given insight into is the Giver. The rest of the 'cast' if you will is just there to support the story. Just like a movie cast not every character is given an in-depth back story. They are there to move the plot along and support Jonas and the Giver. The Characters play an important role as in any story, yet some of the real magic lies in the literary devices used in the story.
Literary devices, such as plot, foreshadowing, and foils, can often be cumbersome and boring to discuss, but really there are many devices that carry this book through till the end.The plot is the biggest device in the story, one that no story can do with out. The Giver is a Utopian/Dystopian novel and a Bildungsroman (coming of age story). The plot revolves around Jonas a young boy living in an ideal world. There is no pain, war, rebellion, or crime. The families are loving and there are strict rules that better the community. The citizens are in a state of what they call sameness. But for Jonas it all changes when he is chosen as the next receiver of memories. He begins to see some of what the world was like before sameness and longs for more than memories. With exquisite simplicity the plot keeps you on your toes with plenty of twists. There are also elements of foreshadowing that you may not catch, but really enrich the story. One example is when Jonas and his sister refer to children from another town as animals not really knowing what it means. Later Jonas receives the memory of an elephant hunt and his heart broken to see the elephant die. Now he knows better what an animal is and it changes how he sees other people throughout the book. Foils are the last device I'll mention even though there are many more. I was surprised how many foils there were for just one person in this book. Jonas as the main character is compared and contrasted with almost everyone, his friend Asher, sister Lilly, his father, and the giver. The comparisons really help you understand who Jonas is and how he feels and why he acts as he does. I know I am going a bit long, but I have just one more point I'd like to make.
The Diction used in The Giver is what I believe makes the book so special. How would you describe a rose? How about love? What about snow? Now try to describe those things with out the color red, without family, or without temperature. Hard isn't it? Well in the book those are some of the objects Jonas knows nothing about. Imagine sledding down a hill for the first time or feeling real love for the first time. Lois Lowry waxes eloquent with the words and phrases she uses in describing, well everything. Through Jonas' eyes you see for the first time. You feel love and pain with new senses. It is really something you have to experience for yourself!
Well, I hope you are now inspired to go and read The Giver. It's not a long book, yet it is very powerful. I know I was a bit long winded, and still I didn't even analyze some of the deep meanings and themes inside. I guess you'll just have to find out those for yourself. I hope you enjoy the giver as much as I did!
Lance Fillmore (PSEUD)
Comment and let me know how you like it. If you've already read it comment your favorite things about it.