by Lois Lowry
The Giver Memory and the Past Quotes
How we cite our quotes: Citations follow this format: (Chapter.Paragraph)
"There's much more. There's all that goes beyond – all that is Elsewhere – and all that goes back, and back, and back. I received all of those, when I was selected. And here in this room, all alone, I re-experience them again and again. It is how wisdom comes. And how we shape our future." (10.56)
If the wisdom of the past is necessary to make decisions of the future, then we can see why the community is so resistant to change. They don't have the knowledge they need to make choices, so everything stays the same.
He rested for a moment, breathing deeply. "I am so weighted with them," he said. (10.57)
Memories may bring wisdom, but they also bring pain. The Giver forces us to ask if it's worth the suffering to gain the knowledge.
"It's as if…" The man paused, seeming to search his mind for the right words of description. "It's like going downhill through deep snow on a sled," he said, finally. "At first it's exhilarating: the speed; the sharp, clear air; but then the snow accumulates, builds up on the runners, and you slow, you have to push hard to keep going and –" (10.59)
The Giver's metaphor is interesting. Memories are "exhilarating" at first because they're fun – think birthday parties and Christmas morning. But you have to remember that, in The Giver, happiness and suffering go hand in hand. You can't have one without the other. So after the good stuff comes the bad: warfare, pain, injury, isolation. This slows you down, hence the snow building up on the runners. If you want to read all about the significance of the sled in The Giver, check out Symbols, Imagery, and Allegory.