Free ePUB The Giver – Hometrainer-tests.de

Twelve year old Jonas lives in a seemingly ideal world Not until he is given his life assignment as the Receiver does he begin to understand the dark secrets behind this fragile community Upon finishing this book, not 20 minutes ago, I m left with several thoughts 1 This book should be required reading for everyone with the emotional maturity to handle it I believe that blindly labeling The Giver as a children s book is neither realistic nor necessarily wise, in some instances Parents would be well advised to thoroughly screen it before offering it to an emotionally sensitive child to read 2 Very few things leave me mentally stuttering as I struggle to put my thoughts into Upon finishing this book, not 20 minutes ago, I m left with several thoughts 1 This book should be required reading for everyone with the emotional maturity to handle it I believe that blindly labeling The Giver as a children s book is neither realistic nor necessarily wise, in some instances Parents would be well advised to thoroughly screen it before offering it to an emotionally sensitive child to read 2 Very few things leave me mentally stuttering as I struggle to put my thoughts into words, but, somehow, The Giver has done just that It will take me a while to be able to make sense of, not the story, but my response to it.3 The Giver is a deftly crafted work, both stunningly beautiful and deeply disturbing Finding myself being imperceptibly lulled by the peace, order, safety and serenity of Jonas s world being awakened by the sickening thud of reality s steel toed boot in the gut, leaving both him and me breathless and disoriented in the aftermath This story is haunting and powerful It s a raw portrayal of the presumed moral sacrifices that man would have to make in order to create and maintain a Utopian society, and the acceptable naivety of the horrors that would accompany it.Perhaps what is most frightening to me is the way I so easily assumed, at first, that Jonas saw the world as I do that the words were being used in the way I understood them The realization that his newly deposited knowledge gives him is almost terrifying, definitely unnerving The depth of my emotional response still has me reeling 4 This is NOT a happy ending, feel good read although I suppose it could be for those who read books without truly experiencing them, but I don t know how to do that, so for me it was a painful experience I m glad I read it, as it s made me think about things in a way I wouldn t have otherwise, and I appreciate that I don t know that I would have read it had I known how real Jonas s and the Giver s pain would be to me Lowry s book is a piece of nationalist propaganda, using oversimplification, emotional appeals, and dualistic morality to shut down her readers minds More troubling is that it is aimed at children, who don t yet have the critical faculties to defend themselves from such underhanded methods.Unsurprisingly, Lowry adopts the structure of the monomyth, equating a spiritual journey with a moral one Her Christ figure uses literal magic powers to rebel against his society This rebellion and the mor Lowry s book is a piece of nationalist propaganda, using oversimplification, emotional appeals, and dualistic morality to shut down her readers minds More troubling is that it is aimed at children, who don t yet have the critical faculties to defend themselves from such underhanded methods.Unsurprisingly, Lowry adopts the structure of the monomyth, equating a spiritual journey with a moral one Her Christ figure uses literal magic powers to rebel against his society This rebellion and the morality behind it are presented as natural , to contrast with the abnormal morality around him.Lowry doesn t seem to understand that we get our morality from our culture, it isn t something in born that we lose This is the first hint of Lowry s misunderstanding of the human mind She assumes her own morality is correct, and then builds her story to fit it.She also makes the character act and think like a modern person would, despite never adequately explaining how he came up with such unusual notions It s the same trick many historical fiction authors use, leaving us scratching our heads as to why a Fourteenth Century French peasant speaks like a second wave feminist I d suggest that Lowry falls to this fault for the same reason they do she has no talent for imagining how others might think differently.Lowry s book ends with the standard nonspecific transgressive spiritual event that marks any overblown monomyth Since the book is not a progressive presentation of ideas, it does not suggest any conclusion Instead, the climax is a symbolic faux death event symbolic of what, none can say Confusingly, Lowry later redacts the ending in the sequels, undermining the pseudo spiritual journey she created.Though some call this book Dystopian , it s closer to the truth to say Lowry borrows elements from the Dystopian authors, attempting to combine the spiritual uplift of the monomyth with the political and social deconstruction of the Dystopia What she doesn t recognize is that the faith of the one conflicts with the cynicism of the other She draws on ideas and images from many other authors Bradbury, Huxley, Orwell, Burgess, but doesn t improve upon them.These authors created novels that reflected the world around them They based them on the political events of the times, presented with realism and careful psychology Though they presented the struggle between the individual and the society, they portrayed morality as grey, and suffering as the result of individual human faults, not political systems Lowry doesn t realize that the best way to critique Fascism or Communism is not to present it as evil , but to simply present it as it was.But Lowry s world is not based in reality, it is symbolic and hyperbolic Instead of writing about how poverty makes the world seem small and dull, she has the characters magically unable to experience life Instead of an impersonal government, she presents a sort of evil hippy commune The only political system it resembles is a school, which is a neat little trick to get the kids interested The idea that school unfeeling totalitarian hell is not an uncommon one, but it s one I m surprised teachers would support The book also suggests a creche, but lacking similarity to any real world system, it doesn t work as a political criticism.Lowry creates this artificial world to suit her purposes, but it is not a symbolic exercise like Animal Farm We understand that the pigs of animal farm are symbolic, because there are no talking pigs Lowry s world isinsidious, since its oversimplification is hidden She builds an artificial world to support the dualist morality that she s pushing She presents the same knee jerk fears about euthanasia and abortion that people use against Women s Rights or Health Care.Worse than these Straw Man arguments is the fact that she never deals with the economic causes of totalitarianism Tyrants don t just rise up and take control by their own force of will, they come into power because of the socioeconomic situations that surround them Lean times produce strong, fascist leaders while profitable times produce permissive, liberal societies.Strong, centralized leadership simply doesn t self propagate in cultures where everyone is clothed, fed, and housed The Holocaust was socially about some ideal of change and purity , but it was economically about the transmission of wealth from Jews, Poles, and Catholics to Germans andspecifically, to those Germans who had elected the new ruling party.The atrocities of war are, for the most part, committed by normal people on other normal people By presenting the power structure as amoral and inhuman , Lowry ignores the fact that people will willingly cause others to suffer Painting the enemy as evil and alien is just an unsophisticated propagandist method.She contrasts her evil with the idealized goodness of emotion, beauty, and freedom This is nothingthan the American dream of specialness that Mr Rogers was pushing for so many years We are all special, we are all good, we all deserve love and happiness Sure, it sounds good, but what does it mean Where does this specialness come from If it is just the sanctity of human life , then it s not really special, because it s all encompassing If all of us are special, then none of us are There s nothing wrong with valuing life, but when Lowry presents one mode of life as valuable and another as reprehensible, she ceases to actually value humanity as a whole Instead, she values a small, idealized chunk of humanity People are good, except the ones I don t like is not a moral basis, nor is it a good message to send to kids.If the specialness is only based on fitting in with a certain moral and social guideline, then Lowry isn t praising individuality, she s praising herd behavior The protagonist is only special because he has magic powers His specialness is not a part of his character, it is an emotional appeal.The idea of being a special individual is another piece of propaganda, and its one kids are especially prone to, because kids aren t special they are carefully controlled and powerless Giving a character special powers and abilities and then using that character to feed a party line to children is not merely disingenuous, it s disturbing.There is also a darker side to universal specialness giving a child a sense of importance without anything to back it up creates egotism and instability Adults noticed that children with skills and friends had high self esteems, but instead of teaching their children social skills and knowledge, they misunderstood the causal relationship and tried to give them self worth first.Unfortunately, the moment unsupported self worth is challenged, the child finds they have nothing to fall back on Their entitlement didn t come from their skills or experiences, and so they have nothing to bolster that sense of worth Instead, any doubt sends them down a spiral of emotional instability.A single book like this wouldn t be the cause of such a state in a child, but it does act as part of the social structure built to give a sense of worth without a solid base for that worth People like to believe they are special, kids especially so, but being a remarkable person is not a result of belief but of actions If the book had informed them, then it would leave them better off, but giving them a conclusion based on emotional appeals does nothing to build confidence or character.Many people have told me this book is good because it appeals to children, but children often fall for propaganda Children develop deep relationships with pop stars, breakfast cereals, and Japanese monsters This does not make them good role models for children.Feeding specialness to kids along with a political message is no better than the fascist youth programs Lowry intends to criticize The obsession with individuality is just another form of elitism It s ironic that people in America most often describe themselves as individuals when pointing out the things they do to align themselves with groups.But banding together in a community is not a bad thing For Lowry and other Red Scare children, any mention of communal can turn into a witch hunt, but we all give up some personal rights and some individuality in order to live in relatively safe, structured societies There are benefits to governmental social controls and there are drawbacks, and it s up to us to walk the line between the two Anarchy and Totalitarianism never actually exist for long we are social animals.It s not difficult to understand why Lowry is so popular, especially amongst educators The message she gives aligns perfectly with what they were taught as kids, from Red Scare reactionism to the hippy dippy unique snowflake mantra These ideas aren t entirely misguided, either It s good to recognize the benefits of difference and the dangers of allowing other to control our lives.If a reader believes that fascism and socialism are inherently wrong and that their own individuality is their greatest asset, they will likely sympathize with Lowry s work However, this doesn t make the book honest, nor beneficial One of the hardest things we can do as readers is disagree with the methods of authors we agree with ideologically.It makes us feel good to find authors who agree with us, but this is when we should be at our most skeptical Searching the world for self justification is not a worthwhile goal, it simply turns you into another short sighted, argumentative know it all Yes men never progress.Lowry is toeing the party line She does not base her book around difficult questions, like the Dystopian authors, but around easy answers She doesn t force the reader to decide for themselves what is best, she makes it clear what she wants us to think Her book is didactic, which means that it instructs the reader what to believe.Even if her conclusions about Individuality vs Community are correct, she doesn t present arguments, she only presents conclusions Like rote memorization or indoctrination, she teaches nothing about the politics, social order, economics, or psychology of totalitarianism or individuality The reader is not left with an understanding, just an opinion.The baseless individuality of the book lets the reader imagine that they are rebels that they are bucking the system even as they fall into lock step By letting the reader think they are already free thinking, Lowry tricks them into forgetting their skepticism.She is happy to paint a simple world of black and white, and this is likely the world she sees I doubt she is purposefully creating an insidious text, she just can t see past her own opinions She writes this book with a point to make, and makes it using emotional appeals and symbolism She doesn t back it up with arguments because she doesn t seem to have developed her opinions from cogent arguments.In the end, she doesn t show us that the structure of this society is wrong, she says nothing poignant about individuality vs community instead, she relies on threats to the life of an innocent infant Yet nowhere does she provide an argument for why communal living or the sacrifice of freedoms for safety must necessarily lead to infanticide.In politics, making extreme claims about the opposing side is called mud slinging, it is an underhanded and dishonest tactic It works Arguing intelligently is difficult, accusing is easy, so that s what Lowry does.She is another child of WWII and the Cold War who hasn t learned her lesson She quickly condemns the flaws of others while failing to search out her own Even after the Holocaust, there are many racist, nationalist, violent Jews conflict rarely breeds a new understanding.America condemned the faceless communal life of the Second World, and yet America created The Projects We critiqued strong governmental controls, but we still have the bank bailout, socialized medicine, socialized schooling, and socialized charity America condemned the Gulags and Work Camps, and yet we imprison one out of every hundred citizens farthan Stalin ever did Some are killed, all are dehumanized.As a little sci fi adventure, the book isn t terrible It s really the pretension that goes along with it Lowry cobbles together religious symbolism and Dystopic tropes and then tries to present it as something as complex and thoughtful as the authors she copied Copying isn t a crime, but copying poorly is.Like Dan Brown or Michael Crichton, she creates a political pamphlet of her own ideals, slaps a pretense of authority on it, and then waits for the money and awards to roll in and they did Many people I ve discussed this book with have pointed to those awards as the surest sign of this book s eminent worth.Award committees are bureaucratic organizations Their decisions are based on political machinations This book is a little piece of Nationalism, and so it was lauded by the political machine that Lowry supports The left hand helps the right If awards are the surest sign of worth, then Titanic is a better movie than Citizen Kane.What surprises me is how many of those who brought up the award as their argument were teachers If a politically charged administrative committee is the best way to teach children, then why do you take umbrage when the principal tells you that bigger class sizes and fewer benefits are fine Listen to him doesn t he have award plaques The other argument is usually that kids like it I usually respond that kids also like candy, so why not teach that Some people also get angry at me for analyzing a book written for childrenOf course it s not a great book, it s for kids If you want a good book, go read Ulysses I prefer to give children good books rather than pieces of political propaganda even if they agreed with me Children can be as skeptical, quick witted, and thoughtful as adults if you give them the chance, so I see no excuse for feeding them anything less Kids aren t stupid, they just lack knowledge, and that s a fine distinction It s easy for adults to take advantage of their naivete, their emotionality, and their sense of worth Just because it s easier for the teacher doesn t mean it s better for the child.When we show children something that is over simplified, presenting an idealized, crudely moralizing world, we aren t preparing them for the actual world If you give a child a meaningless answer to repeat, he will repeat it, but he won t understand why Why not give the child a book that presents many complex ideas, but no rote answers, and let them make up their own minds If they don t learn how to separate the wheat from the chaff and form their own opinions early, in a safe, nurturing environment, what chance will they have on their own as adults In all the discussions and research regarding this book, I have come across very little analysis It s especially surprising for a book with such a strong following, but there aren t many explanations of why the book is supposed to be useful or important.This lack of argument makes sense from a political standpoint, since there is no reason to analyze the worth of propaganda its worth is that it agrees with society and indoctrinates readers Analyzing it would defeat the purpose political diatribes do not stand up to thoughtful attention.Perhaps someday someone will create a thoughtful, textual analysis of this book that will point out its merits, its structure and its complexity I ve gradually come to doubt it I never expected when I wrote my original review of this book that it would garner this much attention.I still welcome comments and thoughts, but if your comment looks roughly like thisYou should read this book again, but this time, like itYou think you re smart but you aren t You re mean Lowry is great This book won awards and kids like it It s meant for kids anyways, why would you analyze what its about I bet you never even read the sequels Go read Moby Dick because you are full of yourself I ve heard that one before If you do want to comment though, you might check out this article I find it helps me with presenting my ideas I ve taught this book to my 6th graders nine years in a row Once I realized that the book is actually a mystery, and not the bland sci fi adventure it seemed at first skim, I loved itandeach time Nine years, two classes most years 17 TIMES I ve come to see that the book isn t the story of a depressing utopia It s the story of the relationship between the main characters the Giver, Jonas, and I won t say her name And of course, the baby Gabe.Every year, as we read the book I ve taught this book to my 6th graders nine years in a row Once I realized that the book is actually a mystery, and not the bland sci fi adventure it seemed at first skim, I loved itandeach time Nine years, two classes most years 17 TIMES I ve come to see that the book isn t the story of a depressing utopia It s the story of the relationship between the main characters the Giver, Jonas, and I won t say her name And of course, the baby Gabe.Every year, as we read the book out loud together, I am amazed at details the students notice things I ve missed the previous 15 times , or questions they raise that lead to further insights for not just the class but ME My God, the things they come up with, that I as an English major, or even me if I d read this with a book club, could never have gone that far in depth.As I began tofully understand the book over the years, I was better able to guide their discussions, which helped them thinkdeeply about the book, and made me appreciate the book evenAnd by guide, I don t mean calm, controlled, teachery, I already know the answer talk My discussion techniques, simple I d stop the tape books on tape are AWESOME the narrator is always so much better than I could ever be and say something like, So, what do you think Doesn t this seem a little WEIRD and off they d go, bouncing ideas off each other until finally someone said something incredible, something no kid had thought of in the past nine years Once I myself knew how to be interested in this book, I knew what might keep them hooked Or, I myself would suddenly realize something new, and I d stop reading and say, OH MY GOD DID YOU GUYS GET WHAT THAT MEANT WHAT IT MIGHT MEAN I feel free to participate myself, since I myself still have so many questions about the book I m not spoiling the ending when I bring up my own questions, because I know this book is a mystery in which things don t much get answered they re left to linger, and that s part of the beauty and hopefulness in this book There are still lines, moments, in the book that give me chills I wait for them greedily, just to hear the words spoken I feel lucky to have been forced to read this book a dozen times There are other books I ve read a lot with my students, and this is the one that most stands up over time, the only one that keeps my interest I truly am on the edge of my seat to see what we will realize next Because I ve seen that, even if I think I have it all figured out, some kid is going to say something to rock my world.I can t believe Lowry was able to make a book this clever part of me thinks a work this good is impossible, and that we are just reading too much into it But no, it s all there, all the pieces, and she put them there I just don t see how could she have written such a tightly woven mystery how could she have know all of the questions the book would raise And you know what, she probably didn t A book isn t like drawing a map You make the world, and things happen And in this case, she did make a perfect world I SO did not mean that as a UTOPIA PUN I hate puns so much I mean, she so fully created that world where everything that happens is plausible Just read the damn book, then call me Or, call me after like, Chapter 13, then after 18 and 19 he book Lines that almost make me cry This book is perhaps the best refutation that I have seen in some time of a common philosophy of pain that is sometimes found in the popular media and in some versions of Buddhism According to this philosophy, pain is the ultimate evil, and so, to eliminate pain and suffering we must give up desire, and individuality Self is an illusion, and leads to pain desire and agency are dangerous, so we should give them up and join the cosmic oneness enlightenment to find a utopia without pain As Ge This book is perhaps the best refutation that I have seen in some time of a common philosophy of pain that is sometimes found in the popular media and in some versions of Buddhism According to this philosophy, pain is the ultimate evil, and so, to eliminate pain and suffering we must give up desire, and individuality Self is an illusion, and leads to pain desire and agency are dangerous, so we should give them up and join the cosmic oneness enlightenment to find a utopia without pain As George Lucas unfortunately has Yoda say to Anakin, you must give up all that you fear to lose And, of course, this is hogwash Choice, agency, adversity, love, desire, and real pleasure are dangerous, they can lead to pain, but without them life has no purpose Love could lead to the loss of that which we love, but life without love is empty Purpose comes from choosing Purpose comes from overcoming adversity Yes, you could choose poorly, and that could lead to pain, choice is dangerous, but without it, life has no meaning, it is colorless Greatness in life is found by overcoming adversity, not by the absence of adversity Without opposition, there is nothing to overcome, and thus there may be no bad, but there is also no good, there may be no pain, but there is also no joy Spoiler Alert The book s ending mirrors this ambiguity Although some later books answer some of these questions, at the end of this book we are left to wonder Did he die Did he live All we really know is that he was made free, and he made a choice was it the right one Did it lead to happiness for him Did it lead to happiness for the community who will now have his memories Will they destroy themselves, or will the Giver be able to help them find true purpose and happiness in life We don t know, because that is the way of all choices We can t always know the outcomes of our decisions, and therein lies the danger, but the risk is well worth the rewards