The Giver & Choices

I read The Giver this week. This wasn’t the first time I had read the book – I imagine most people read it at some point during elementary/middle school. I didn’t remember much about it, though.. other than that it was a dystopian novel. Since I’ve been loving The Hunger Games and Divergent trilogies, I figured it was a good time to re-read The Giver. For those of you haven’t read this in a while/ever, here’s the teaser from Goodreads:

Jonas’ world is perfect. Everything is under control. There is no war or fear or pain. There are no choices. Every person is assigned a role in the Community. When Jonas turns twelve, he is singled out to receive special training from The Giver. The Giver alone holds the memories of the true pain and pleasure of life. Now, it is time for Jonas to receive the truth. There is no turning back.

The Giver

The scene in The Giver that really go me was the one in which Jonas begins seeing colors (in his world, there are no colors because everything is the same). He says it’s “not fair” that nothing has color because “if everything’s the same, then there aren’t any choices.” He’s talking about clothes and toys, but the Giver points out that having a choice means you might choose wrong. “What if they were allowed to choose their own mate? And chose wrong? Or what if they chose their own jobs?” Jonas says, “we really have to protect people from wrong choices.”

Could you imagine if all of our choices were made for us? It might be nice for a little while – to not have to weigh the pros and cons of a decision or worry about the consequences of your choices. But really.. what is a “wrong” choice? Aren’t all of our choices ultimately the right ones? Even if you wish you had made a different choice after the fact, think about what would have happened if you actually had. Your life would have turned out differently.

The choices you make now, the people you surround yourself with, they all have the potential to affect your life, even who you are, forever. - The Truth About Forever by Sarah Dessen

Wrong Choices Right Places

It is our choices, Harry, that show what we truly are, far more than our abilities. - Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets by J.K. Rowling

Have you read The GiverThere’s a movie coming out, too! Jeff Bridges is playing the Giver, which I can totally see. Katie Holmes, Meryl Streep, Alexander Skarsgard, and (eh) Taylor Swift are in it, too.

How do you feel about choices? There are plenty of days when I wish someone could make my decisions for me (like that episode of Friends when Rachel lets Monica make all her decisions), but ultimately, the ability to make my own choices is one of my absolute favorite things about “being an adult.” I’ve made plenty of bad choices, but I’m pretty happy with where they’ve brought me.

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12 thoughts on “The Giver & Choices

  1. I can’t imagine not making my own choices! That definitely sounds like an interesting book. However I think Taylor Swift is a terrible actress so giving her a movie role doesn’t seem like a great idea in what sounds like a dramatic movie.

    And nice Friends reference. I remember that episode (well, I remember them all) and thought it was hysterical.

    • Yeahhh, I’m not happy about the Taylor Swift thing. The rest of the cast looks great though. And the book’s short, so if you’ve never read it, I’d recommend it!

  2. Sounds like an interesting book for sure, I’ll have to check it out.

    I couldn’t imagine what it would be like not to be able to make my own choices.

    I loved reading Hunger Games too. I also read The Match series on a friends recommendations which is sort of similar. And I’ve just starting on ‘The Testing’ series which is meant to be similar again. (I’m Hunger Games obsessed what can I say!)

  3. I just re-read The Giver for my grad class on juvenile lit. There’s actually 3 more stories that follow and make up a loose quartet – I would recommend reading them (though Book 2 was my least favorite of the four, and the fourth and final book being the one that ties most closely to The Giver.)

    • Good to know! I was debating reading the other three, but most of the reviews I read said they were disappointing. I wasn’t sure it was worth it because I was really impressed with The Giver (can’t believe we read it at such a young age). I’ll have to check them out though!

  4. I *loved* reading The Giver. We had a whole section on dystopian novels at the end of my senior year (it wound up being my favorite genre in my entire literary education, which is kind of weird since I generally am pretty optimistic), and that was one of my favorites. I loved exploring the idea of choices — especially at that particular moment in my life, since I’d just made a big decision about where to go to college.

    I had no idea they were making it into a movie, but now I can’t wait to see it!

    • Whaaaatt, that’s awesome. We did poetry and Shakespeare senior yet.. which wasn’t bad, but I would’ve loved to read a bunch of dystopian novels. What a cool unit!

  5. Love your perspective here!

    We read this in 8th grade English and everyone loved it. My English teacher who’s now a librarian got to meet Lois Lowry a few months ago and she made sure to tag our whole class in her Facebook update. She was so excited!

    I’m a firm believer in “everything happens for a reason” and that God has a plan. Even if I made a decision that turned about to be wrong, at least I learned something from it and (hopefully) will choose wiser next time.

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