Memories Are Forever
The Giver by Lois Lowrey is a novel about a society trying to create a totally peaceful and harmonious background without conflict, war, or hate by eliminating emotion entirely. It takes place in a futuristic “utopian” civilization where everyone was built to have emotions that of a robot; a robot with no feelings, a robot with no emotion, a robot blinded from reality. Without memories, people can’t learn from mistakes, celebrate accomplishments, know, or love happiness or any other deep emotion, or grow as an individual. “Memories are forever” (pg.144).
The story shows that things may end, but memories last forever. Sometime in the past, Jonas’s community decided to give up their memories in order to eliminate the pain and regret that came with them. “They needed a Receiver to contain all that pain. And knowledge” (pg.105).
The community succeded: their population is almost perfectly safe and stable.. at least to the innocent eye. “There was a time,actually- you’ll see this in the memories later- when flesh was many different colors. That was before we went to Sameness.
Today flesh is all the same” (pg. 94). In Lowry’s book, memories don’t function as it does in the real world. Certain people have the power to transmit memories to others, and that ability is connected to the trait of blue eyes, which Jonas, the Giver, and Gabriel all share. “He was not aware of giving the memory; but he suddenly realized that it was becoming dimmer, that it was sliding through his hand into the being of the new child” (pg.
116). Memory is not just a mental excersice. Instead, it is an actual experience; Jonas literally feels the cold when he remembers snow. The Giver and Jonas both emphasize the memory’s preciousness and its power to guide, enrich, and enrich life. “He felt such love for Asher and Fiona.
But they could not feel it back, without the memories” (pg. 135). Because the community was not able to feel, Asher and Fiona couldn’t feel such strong emotions Jonas did. Without memories, no one is different, no one has their own life story to tell, no one shapes and changes the lives of others. Although Jonas felt this way about Asher and Fiona, he also had memories associated with war. “In his mind, Jonas saw again the face of the boy who had lain dying in a field and had begged him for water” (pg.
134). Jonas sees Asher, Fiona, and fellow civilization members playing a game of “war”. He tries to explain to them that the game was a cruel mockery of the terrible realities of war. Asher doesn’t understand him, and angrily responds that he has to play these games because of his job reecreation. Jonas realizes and is despondent to try to explain all he has experienced.
Lois Lowrey explored the idea of memories in her book, and how it affected the community Jonas was living in. Without memories, people can’t learn from mistakes and better themselves. Success may be temporary, but memories last forever.