In the controlled society depicted in The Giver, old age is seemingly treated with respect. When we look closer, though, it becomes clear that the wisdom which the elderly have to offer is wasted. They are treated as children, rather than as knowledgeable individuals, and are basically taken care of until they're killed off. When dealing with the elderly, ritual masks reality, as it does in much of this novel.
Questions About Old Age
- The Giver draws all these strange parallels between the very young and the very old in the community. What's up with that? Why are the Elders so lax when it comes to the rules surrounding these two groups?
- If there is no suffering, no memory of the past, and no inter-generational connections, then what do the elderly have to offer the young in this novel?
- What prompts Jonas to say that he wants The Giver to be his grandfather? What does he mean by this comment? Is The Giver his grandfather already? Perhaps in the same way that Rosemary was The Giver's daughter? Hmm…
Chew on This
The elderly are the least free of all the citizens in the community.
The elderly are the most free of all the citizens in the community.