by Lois Lowry
The Giver Choices Quotes
How we cite our quotes: Citations follow this format: (Chapter.Paragraph)
"Some years ago," The Giver told him, "before your birth, a lot of citizens petitioned the Committee of the Elders. They wanted to increase the rate of births. They wanted each Birthmother to be assigned four births instead of three, so the population would increase and there would be more Laborers available."
"The Committee of the Elders sought my advice," The Giver said. "It made sense to them too, but it was a new idea, and they came to me for wisdom. (14.27, 31)
The Giver reminds us that without wisdom, one cannot make choices. Jonas may be right to wonder if the citizens of his community can handle the freedom of choice, particularly since they're denied any knowledge of the past from which to learn.
Jonas did not want to go back. He didn't want the memories, didn't want the honor, didn't want the wisdom, didn't want the pain. He wanted his childhood again, his scraped knees and ballgames. He sat in his dwelling alone, watching through the window, seeing the children at play, citizens bicycling home from uneventful days at work, ordinary lives free of anguish because he had been selected, as others before him had, to bear their burden.
But the Choice was not his. He returned each day to the Annex room. (16.1-2)
Jonas is as limited by his duties as the rest of the citizens are by their ignorance.
Jonas nodded. "I liked the feeling of love," he confessed. He glanced nervously at the speaker on the wall, reassuring himself that no one was listening. "I wish we still had that," he whispered. "Of course," he added quickly, "I do understand that it wouldn't work very well. And that it's much better to be organized the way we are now. I can see that it was a dangerous way to live."
"What do you mean?"
Jonas hesitated. He wasn't certain, really, what he had meant. He could feel that there was risk involved, though he wasn't sure how. "Well," he said finally, grasping for an explanation, "they had a fire right there in that room. There was a fire burning in the fireplace. And there were candles on the table. I can certainly see why those things were outlawed. (16.49-51)
Just as The Giver had to use the sled comparison to talk about memories, Jonas has to use the fire to talk about love. And, much like fire, love is dangerous, but provides a certain warmth. Yes, it's a bit heavy-handed. Don't look at us.