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Islington Branch Book Club - Past Titles: "The Giver" by Lois Lowry

Take a look through previous titles we've discussed at our Islington Branch Book Club

"The Giver" by Lois Lowry

  1. Exploring Themes:

    • Identify and discuss the central themes of "The Giver," such as conformity, memory, and the pursuit of happiness. How do these themes shape the characters' experiences and the world they inhabit?
  2. Character Analysis:

    • Analyze the protagonist, Jonas, and his journey throughout the novel. How does his role as the Receiver of Memory challenge his understanding of the world, his relationships, and his sense of self?
    • Explore the character of the Giver. What role does he play in Jonas's development, and how does his wisdom and memories influence Jonas's perception of society?
  3. Dystopian Society:

    • Discuss the society depicted in "The Giver." How does the community maintain control over its citizens, and what sacrifices are made in the name of stability and order?
    • Consider the role of the government and the concept of "Sameness" in shaping the dystopian world. How does the absence of pain and conflict contribute to the overall control exerted by the society?
  4. The Importance of Memory:

    • Explore the significance of memory in the novel. How does the absence of memories of the past affect the characters' understanding of themselves and their world?
    • Discuss the role of the Giver and his memories in preserving the collective memory of humanity. What does the preservation of memories suggest about the importance of human experiences and emotions?
  5. Freedom and Choice:

    • Examine the concept of freedom in "The Giver." How do the restrictions placed on individual choice and expression affect the characters' lives, and what are the consequences of challenging societal norms?
    • Consider Jonas's decision to leave the community in search of freedom. How does his journey reflect the human desire for autonomy and self-determination?
  6. Ethical Dilemmas:

    • Discuss the ethical dilemmas presented in the novel, such as the trade-off between safety and individuality, and the consequences of sacrificing personal freedoms for societal stability.
    • Consider the moral implications of the community's practice of "releasing" individuals who do not conform to societal norms. How does the community justify this practice, and what does it reveal about their values?
  7. Symbolism and Imagery:

    • Analyze the use of symbolism and imagery in "The Giver," such as the apple, the color red, and the sled ride. How do these symbols enhance the themes and motifs of the novel?
    • Consider the significance of the novel's ending and the imagery of the sled ride in relation to Jonas's newfound understanding of freedom and individuality.
  8. Narrative Structure:

    • Discuss the narrative structure of "The Giver," particularly the use of first-person narration from Jonas's perspective. How does this narrative choice shape the reader's understanding of the story and its themes?
    • Consider the ambiguity of the novel's ending and how it invites readers to interpret the fate of Jonas and the community.
  9. Real-World Connections:

    • Reflect on the relevance of the themes in "The Giver" to contemporary society. How do the issues of conformity, surveillance, and the balance between security and freedom resonate with current events and societal debates?
    • Discuss any parallels between the dystopian world of "The Giver" and historical or contemporary examples of authoritarianism and social control.
  10. Personal Reflection:

    • How did reading "The Giver" impact your understanding of societal norms, individuality, and the pursuit of happiness? Did the novel prompt you to reflect on your own values and beliefs?

Lois Lowry is an acclaimed American author known for her versatile body of work spanning various genres, including children's literature, young adult fiction, and adult novels. Here's a brief biography of Lois Lowry:

Early Life and Education: Lois Lowry was born on March 20, 1937, in Honolulu, Hawaii, to parents Katherine Gordon Landis and Robert E. Hammersberg. She spent her early years moving frequently due to her father's military career. Lowry's family eventually settled in New York City, where she attended school.

Lowry pursued her education at various institutions, including Brown University in Providence, Rhode Island, where she studied literature and creative writing. She later completed her studies at the University of Southern Maine, graduating with a degree in English literature.

Literary Career: Lois Lowry began her career as a writer in the 1970s, initially focusing on children's books. She gained recognition for her ability to tackle complex themes and issues in her writing, often addressing topics such as family, loss, and social justice.

Some of Lowry's early works include "A Summer to Die" (1977) and the Anastasia Krupnik series, which follows the humorous adventures of a young girl. However, it was her novel "Number the Stars" (1989) that brought her widespread acclaim and won the Newbery Medal for its poignant portrayal of a young girl's experiences during the Holocaust.

Lowry continued to explore challenging subjects in her writing, including in her novel "The Giver" (1993), which is set in a dystopian society and explores themes of conformity and individuality. "The Giver" received critical acclaim and won the Newbery Medal, becoming a modern classic in children's literature. It is part of a quartet of books set in the same dystopian universe.

Throughout her career, Lowry has written numerous other acclaimed works, including the "Anastasia Krupnik" series, the "Sam Krupnik" series, and standalone novels like "Gathering Blue" (2000), "Messenger" (2004), and "Son" (2012), which form a loose quartet with "The Giver."

In addition to her contributions to children's and young adult literature, Lowry has also written adult fiction, including novels such as "A Summer to Die" (1977) and "The Willoughbys" (2008).

Legacy and Recognition: Lois Lowry is widely regarded as one of the most influential authors in children's literature, known for her ability to address complex themes with sensitivity and nuance. She has received numerous awards for her work, including two Newbery Medals, a Boston Globe–Horn Book Award, and the Margaret A. Edwards Award for her contribution to young adult literature.

Lowry's books continue to be celebrated for their timeless themes, compelling characters, and thought-provoking narratives, making her a beloved figure in the world of children's and young adult literature.


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