Wow! Did chapter nineteen surprise you? Why has life lost its value in Jonas’s community? The author begins to show you in chapter twenty when Jonas and the Giver talk about feelings. Here are a few quotes from the book. The first quote refers to Fiona and her work with the elderly:
“Fiona is already being trained in the fine art of release,” the Giver told him. “She’s very efficient at her work, your red-haired friend. Feelings are not part of the life she’s learned.”
Here’s another scene between Jonas and the Giver:
Jonas found himself using the nasty, sarcastic voice again. “Then we’ll have a sharing of feelings?”
The Giver gave a rueful, anguished, empty laugh. “Jonas, you and I are the only ones who have feelings. We’ve been sharing them now for almost a year.”
Lowry shows us, through Jonas, that a life with no feelings, no choices, and no love is no life at all. Though love involves risk and even danger, it is worth the pain. Without love, life loses color and value. People have value not because they conform to a standard or because they contribute something. They have value simply because they are human and sometimes, this requires us to make sacrifices to care for them and to uphold their dignity even when they can’t give back. “Release” may be easy and convenient, but it robs each person of their value as individuals. What do you think?
If you enjoyed The Giver, check out the other books of the trilogy: Gathering Blue and The Messenger. Gathering Blue depicts a society that has gone backwards rather than advancing like Jonas’s community. The first two books meet in the third, The Messenger, and Jonas reappears