The Giver and Its Legacy

Watch out for spoilers, guys. Although if you haven’t read The Giver yet, you need to get off the internet and go do that now.

On reading The Giver for the first time as an adult:

Kate [Milford]: I think I felt in my gut that he didn’t make it. I went inside from the beach, got on the computer at 2 p.m. on this gorgeous day, shut myself inside, and started doing mindless work. I didn’t want to think about it. But since then,¬†over and over, I’ve been thinking about it. You have to decide what you want to think.

Jen [Doll]: It makes me wonder if the ambiguous ending of the book is a purposeful parallel of the message of the book itself, the ability to choose versus having things told to you, dictated, or prescribed. Choosing is harder, but in a free society, we have to be able to do it for ourselves, and of course, we value that. The ending itself becomes about this idea of choosing versus having your choice taken away, which is obviously a big part of the theme of the book.

I know The Giver is part of a series, but I’m with Kate when I think about the ending. When I first read it, I was in middle school and it was a major emotional moment for me. Was there hope? Was escape enough? And I love Jen’s point about choice, and how that’s really emphasized in the ambiguity of the ending.

Make sure to read the whole article; it’s reminded me of how much I love The Giver and what a wonderful book it is.

2 thoughts on “The Giver and Its Legacy

  1. The best writers for children say they always want to give their readers hope. They don’t promise things will be easy. So I’ve always assumed he made it. But he’ll have to keep striving.

  2. I taught this book to 7th graders for six years, and it never failed to impress them. They were frustrated by the vague ending, but this always turned into a great discussion. They came up with different possibilities and decided what they believed happened. I never swayed them in any way because thinking through it was such a rich experience for them. The Giver rocks!

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