Monday, June 3, 2013

A Lousy Conclusion - Why You Should Never Ask Me About the Giver's Ending if You Want to Live

Recently, we finished reading The Giver in class, which was a very deep, thought-provoking book that truly gave me something to think about throughout the unit.
If I thought that the beginning and middle were like this, I really didn't see the ending coming.
Basically, Jonas, the protagonist, and his 'brother' Gabriel start doing something that you can't really figure out exactly what it is. In the end, he sleds down a hill and the book is over. Over. 

Now, I just want to know what good ol' Lowis was thinking when she did this. Basically, she began a controversy that spread across the globe and she STILL won't give an answer! I mean, seriously......

Nice one, Lois. You've really done it now.

There are two main opinions on the matter,
the first one being that he is alive and safely makes it to Elsewhere OR
Ding, dong! Jonas is dead! 

Personally, I think he's dead as.....a dead person, I guess.
I believe that the human spirit, the desire for individuality, etc., etc, are worth nothing compared to the rules that are set in his community. This organized, incredibly organized, society creates a life that may be perfect, but it is worth nothing to humanity. When you put it to scale, Jonas might as well have been dead as he lived through life in the Community. Which brings me to my first quote, (From the book)
“The life where nothing was ever unexpected. Or inconvenient. Or unusual. The life without colour, pain or past.” 
This is taken from the book and describes exactly what I am talking about. In the novel, we are introduced to a community where nothing is unexpected, and everything is lived in black and white. Imagine living like this. When we were introduced to the Utopian worlds in the beginning of the unit, I was amazed at how they compared to our own world, and how pathetic we seem compared to that of a Utopian world. But would you give up your entire life just to be without war, or pain, etc., etc., etc.? Jonas, after being revealed to the elements of the world that we live in, realizes that going to Elsewhere, which is, in my opinion, death, is better than being in his Community.

I searched for some interviews with Lois Lowry, the author, regarding the novel and its peculiar ending. 
One thing that I saw while reading that I thought was quite interesting was that Lois hates books with messages to them and intended the novel to be a story, not a message. However, when I searched Google for the "messages in the Giver" I found that many, many people, unknowing of the fact that the novel is intended to be a story, had found messages in the Giver. The following are opinions from Yahoo Answers on the matter:

"'The Giver' is said to be about a futuristic society, but I think we may be living in it now, or may be close to living in it now. I think it is essentially a message for people to wake up and observe what is going on around them now, in order to avert matters from getting worse. The only way to tackle it is to challenge it, as Jonas did in the end when he rescued Baby Gabriel"
"I think the book says different things to different people, just as most things do. It said to me that we should be careful who we trust and give power over us, and that we should be ourselves despite what people tell us."
Both quotes have completely different opinions on what the message in the Giver could be, and I actually agree with both of them. I believe that the message could be either one, and that it is good for people to interpret a story as peculiar as this one. As far as what Lois Lowry said about the ending, I believe that she implied in the first interview that she wasn't intending for the book to be such a major cliffhanger. It was really meant to be just a story, but it turned into this huge debate.

I'll now share another quote from the book:
“I knew that there had been times in the past-terrible times-when people had destroyed others in haste,in fear, and had brought about their own destruction” 
This quote builds on my opinion about the ending. First of all, my thoughts on it say that Jonas died for a life worth living. Even if this is a life worth living (war, as seen in the quote above) it is much better than living a life that is not a life at all. Although Lois Lowry did not intend for there to be a message behind this tale,  the points she expresses are still equal to the thought of her having put a message to the story. (Sorry, you may have to read that one over a few times.)

Alright, I think I've talked about that enough. Now I'll talk about Interview the Second. Yay!

This interview is mainly about the book's sequel. Although there was a sequel to the Giver, I believe that this was more of a "What if?" storyline, as in "What if Jonas were alive?" I also noticed that Lois Lowry had described in the interview that the Giver was a dystopian novel....which surprised me. Jonas lived in the perfect community. It was just....too perfect, in a sense. So perfect, that it wasn't a life worth living. It really made me look back on the Utopias we created early in the unit and think, "Would I really want to live there?" Would it really be a good life to live a life that was completely the same as anyone else's?

The last thing I would like to point out about the Giver ending and in this blog post in general is how much I am starting to despise Lowis Lowry after doing a little research on her. Would you like 6 good reasons why I don't like her?

1. She created a monster named the Giver that causes all sorts of problems in the world.
2. She wrote this terrible book called Number the Stars. Oh, gosh, it was horrible.
3. She used the name Anastasia in a book once. Several books.
4. She wrote two books with Newbery awards, also known as the worst book of the year.
5. Her author picture is kind of creepy.
6. She could have ended the Giver somewhat decently, but she chose to kill the storyline completely!

Until next time.........sayonara!