Lois Lowry, the author of The Giver, wanted to become a writer at a very early age, but did not continue her studies and her writing career until she was married and had grown children. Several of her books have strong autobiographical overtones, such as her first novel A Summer to Die (1977) and her dystopian young adult novel The Giver (1993), which is the first volume of a quartet.
However, The Giver should be considered a stand-alone narrative because when the author wrote it, she did not yet know that she would continue the story. Several elements of the plot are directly related to the writer's life and especially to her father's illness, which influenced her to think about the role of memories. She wrote the novel for teenagers. Therefore, we will examine what typical characteristics of the young adult novel can be found in the work.
In the novel, the main character, Jonas lives happily and contentedly in a community without war, hunger and suffering. He accepts that the government determines his entire life, both professional and private, and believes that he lives in a perfect world.
It is not until he begins his training as a "Receiver of Memory" that Jonas has new experiences that broaden his previous horizons. He begins to ask questions and to doubt whether the safe system he knows is really as perfect as he always thought. On the day he discovers that euthanasia is being practiced secretly on a large scale, his world as he has known it collapses.
We will examine the characteristics of the dystopia in the work for you and then explain whether the story still represents science fiction some thirty years after its appearance. Finally, we will examine the criticism, reception, and adaptations of the controversial novel. We will also provide you with a comparison between the novel and its movie adaptation.