Posted: Friday, November 30, 2012 5:49:29 PM
If words were ever composed in such a way that the reader had no choice but to be captivated and stunned in awe, Lois Lowry’s The Giver would be it. As you read through this book, you see an entire new world composed of an idea that nobody could express better than Lowry. No matter what country you live in, or what your income is, or even your language, we have all heard or observed difference. This is everywhere you go, school, work, church, and even just driving through your neighborhood--differences from appearence to memories.
Lowry plays on the notion that difference equals problem. She creates a futuristic “utopia” where everything seems great because everything is the same. Clothes, bikes, houses, families. Even colors aren’t present until one day, 12 year old Jonas is thrust into a job that shatters everything he knows about his perfect world. He is then faced with the inevitable question, what to do next. This made me ask the same question, what would I do? I think we all take choice for granted. I have never again said the words, “Because I can.” It has given me a new insight.
Jonas is much like us. He is a normal boy progressing into adulthood, but what he has that not many people today have is courage, faith, and the endurance to go on no matter what obstacles stand in his way. One might ask; why do anything at all? The community lives in harmony, and “what they don’t know won’t kill them.” But there is a difference in the right thing to do, and the moral thing. It is our choices that make us human, so Lowry asks a very important question. When you take away man’s choice, what is he?
I frequently get asked, “Why did God make The Tree of Good and Evil, if he knew man would eat of it?” I always reply the same. If we don’t have the opportunity to make the wrong choice, are we really making the right one? In other words, how can free-will exist, if there is no wrong choice or choice at all? Lowry understands this concept, and Jonas does too. If we are absent of emotion, then we might as well not be anything but computing, calculated drones. This is what made me realize that choices change when we do.
Life without choice is not life at all. Or as George Orwell puts it, 2+2=5 when everyone believes it. So, if we know no choice, then choice does not exist. Orwell also ties into Lowry’s book when he says, “If both the past and the external world exist only in the mind, and if the mind itself is controllable—what then?” When my father left, this book gave me insight and took away the pain. Reading it together every night, this book brought both me and my mom closer while coming out of a hard time. I remember, The Giver.