The Role of Memory and Choice in Lois Lowry's "The Giver"

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About this sample

About this sample


Words: 630 |

Page: 1|

4 min read

Published: Jun 6, 2024

Words: 630|Page: 1|4 min read

Published: Jun 6, 2024

Table of contents

  1. Introduction
  2. The Suppression of Memory
  3. The Power of Choice
  4. The Interplay of Memory and Choice
  5. Conclusion


Lois Lowry’s "The Giver" is a profound and thought-provoking novel that delves into the complexities of a controlled, utopian society. This dystopian narrative explores the significance of memory and the power of choice within a community that has relinquished both in pursuit of uniformity and predictability. As the protagonist, Jonas, embarks on his journey of self-discovery and enlightenment, Lowry masterfully unravels the thematic intricacies associated with the suppression of memory and the importance of individual choice. This essay aims to explore these central themes, illustrating how they are crucial to understanding the novel's message about the value of human experience and freedom.

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The Suppression of Memory

In "The Giver," the suppression of memory is a critical mechanism through which the community maintains its semblance of order and harmony. Memories of pain, suffering, and even joy have been systematically eradicated from the collective consciousness of the society, entrusted solely to the Receiver of Memory—an individual who bears the burden of the past. This eradication of memory is a double-edged sword; while it protects the community from the chaos of emotional extremes, it also strips individuals of their historical and cultural identity. Jonas’s experiences with the Giver reveal the richness of life that lies beyond the sanitized existence of his community. The memories he receives, both beautiful and harrowing, underscore the importance of remembering and learning from the past. Without these memories, the community loses its connection to the essence of what it means to be human.

The Power of Choice

Alongside memory, the theme of choice is pivotal in "The Giver." The society in the novel has traded the freedom to choose for the security of predictability and uniformity. From the moment of birth, individuals are assigned roles, families, and even emotions, all meticulously regulated by the community’s governing body. This eradication of choice is portrayed as both a protective measure and a form of oppression. Jonas’s awakening to the concept of choice marks a significant turning point in the narrative. His realization that the ability to choose is integral to his identity and autonomy challenges the very foundation of the community’s ideology. The novel suggests that the freedom to make choices, even flawed ones, is essential to the human experience. It is through choice that individuals define themselves and their place in the world.

The Interplay of Memory and Choice

The interplay of memory and choice in "The Giver" serves to highlight the interconnectedness of these themes. Memory provides the context and wisdom necessary for making informed choices, while the ability to choose allows individuals to create and shape their own memories. Jonas’s journey illustrates how the absence of one diminishes the other. As he gains access to memories, he begins to question the lack of choice in his life and the lives of those around him. This questioning leads to a deeper understanding of the value of freedom and the inherent flaws in his society’s structure. Lowry uses this interplay to emphasize that a life devoid of memory and choice is incomplete and lacks the depth that makes us truly human.

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In conclusion, Lois Lowry’s "The Giver" is a compelling exploration of the themes of memory and choice. Through Jonas’s journey, the novel reveals the essential role that these elements play in defining the human experience. The suppression of memory and the elimination of choice, while intended to create a harmonious society, ultimately result in a loss of individuality and the richness of life. Lowry’s narrative serves as a poignant reminder of the importance of embracing our past and our ability to choose, as they are fundamental to our identity and humanity. By examining these themes, "The Giver" challenges readers to reflect on the value of memory and the freedom of choice in their own lives, encouraging a deeper appreciation for the complexities of human existence.

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This essay was reviewed by
Dr. Charlotte Jacobson

Cite this Essay

The Role of Memory and Choice in Lois Lowry’s “The Giver”. (2024, Jun 05). GradesFixer. Retrieved June 12, 2024, from
“The Role of Memory and Choice in Lois Lowry’s “The Giver”.” GradesFixer, 05 Jun. 2024,
The Role of Memory and Choice in Lois Lowry’s “The Giver”. [online]. Available at: <> [Accessed 12 Jun. 2024].
The Role of Memory and Choice in Lois Lowry’s “The Giver” [Internet]. GradesFixer. 2024 Jun 05 [cited 2024 Jun 12]. Available from:
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