This book. This movie. Where do I even begin?
I adore it. So much.
I have read The Giver to my students all three years now. I have read this book probably about seven times in total. Words cannot describe how much I love this book. I remember when I was in sixth grade and my teacher read it to me. I would sit there and color and listen to the concept of it, completely entranced by the words and ideas of it all. I was enthralled then and I am enthralled now.
Now, if you haven't read the book (or seen the movie), this is, essentially, the summary of it: Jonas, a young boy, lives in a dystopian world of the future. The Ceremony of Twelve introduces him to a whole new existence, as the Receiver of Memory. Jonas experiences memories from the past that his community has forgotten: color, animals, and a sunset. But, he also has to experience the negative aspects of these memories: the history of hatred, pain and war. Through these memories, Jonas learns the importance of emotion, feelings and love for the very first time.
There are a few aspects, specifically, that I love about this novel:
*I absolutely love the writing. Lois Lowry writes in a way that challenges the reader to think and process. Her word choice, imagery, metaphors and overall writing is fabulous. I love that her writing lets not only me, but my students think as well. Often times, I just want to read and discuss this book with my students for hours (if only! In my dream teaching world!). I don't normally read this book til March or April, when my students are a little bit older and more mature, but because the movie came out and they all have heard about it, I was excited to get this novel started first thing. I am so glad I did. They all are so into it and I want to instill that love of reading into them from the beginning of the year! I love the conversations that take place with my 11-12 year old students. I see their brains processing, thinking and feeling about this book. I am amazed at some of their responses. Here are what some of them have said in recent journal entries:
"In Jonas's world they are missing color, and they never get hurt. If they never get hurt they are never going to learn anything."
"They're dull.(: They listen to what others say. They don't really fight with others. They don't experience pain."
"Basically everybody in Jonas's community just follows the rules and doesn't question them at all. They do not have color, animals, or even their own family."
"In the giver the people have no choices. They want everything to be the same. I would not like this lifestyle because I would want color and sunshine and love."
"Their mising love. They don't understand real pain. "
"Everyone is the same, no one is different. Choices are made for them. We should live in a world where we make our own choices."
So cool to see that they are learning and thinking, huh? Don't judge their responses. Beginning of sixth grade….I am still working' on them ;)
*I love that they made the movie. T Money and I saw it on Labor Day and after he was like, "that was boring." But I loved it. Yes, it was kind of slow. But I almost cried like three different times. I love how they added elements to make it more theatrical. They had to in order to make it a little more interested. I was very impressed with it.
*There is something so incredibly fascinating about this novel. I love the whole concept behind it: without love, what's the point? Because, it's true. Without emotions, without love, without the good AND the bad, the entire purpose of our lives here on this earth are pointless. I couldn't sleep last night and I woke up at 6 am. It was a beautiful, brisk fall morning so I got my pup and decided to go for a long run/walk. On this walk, I kept thinking about the whole concept of emotions, feelings and love. If you read my Word Vomit post then you know that those three things are aspects of life I am fully aware of. Sometimes I get frustrated with my emotions, how I feel them so often, but then I remind myself what my father used to tell me: You may be frustrated that you feel so much negative, but because you feel the lows, you also feel the highs. And it's true. I do know true joy. I feel so much happiness in my life. But, in order to have that, I also feel the sadness. It's a part of who I am :)
I think that's something that we all kind of need to work on. This whole concept of love and emotion. I think we need to learn to be careful when we say, "I love you." I hear my girlfriends, friends and family say all of the time, out of habit. "OMG i love you,"... it's thrown around like it's nothing. It's awesome if you truly do love the person, but it is not necessary to say it five times a night to people.
I think we all need to practice truly loving people. Even when we, well, when we don't want to. I definitely need to work on this. There is good in everyone. And if you stop and look for a minute, you will notice the good. I tend to focus on so much of the negative that I criticize a lot. This is something I need to work on: just truly loving people for who they are, the good and the bad.
I also, lastly, think that, we, as a whole society, need to learn how to express our emotions. Because we are all so plugged in all of the time, I think that this is becoming one of your struggles. Either we bottle them and pretend lie we are fine, or we don't talk about them, or we obsessed over them and talk about them too much. It's okay to feel things. Express it, people!
So, basically, The Giver, a junior novel, led me to all of these thoughts.
It's amazing what a book can do.
Have you read The Giver? Did you like it?
Have you seen the movie? What are your thoughts on it?
Do you agree with some of my statements above?
What are some things you think our society needs to work on?