by Lois Lowry
The Giver Tradition and Customs Quotes
How we cite our quotes: Citations follow this format: (Chapter.Paragraph)
Larissa opened her eyes happily. "They told his whole life before they released him," she said. "They always do. But to be honest," She whispered with a mischievous look, "some of the tellings are a little boring. I've seen some of the Old fall asleep during tellings – when they released Edna recently. Did you know Edna?" (4.27)
This particular tradition – the "tellings" – resonates fairly closely with our own tradition of obituaries. It feels almost out of place in Jonas's world, though. Why celebrate the past in a world that refuses to remember anything?
The little girl nodded and looked down at herself, at the jacket with its row of large buttons that designated her as a Seven. Fours, Fives, and Sixes all wore jackets that fastened down the back so that they would have to help each other dress and would learn interdependence. (6.6)
Tradition is seemingly based on logic in The Giver. Everything is done for a reason, and all rituals have their purpose. It is this sort of control that eliminates freedom and choice.
This new Caleb was a replacement child. The couple had lost their first Caleb, a cheerful little Four. Loss of a child was very, very rare. The community was extraordinarily safe, each citizen watchful and protective of all children. But somehow the first Caleb had wandered away unnoticed, and had fallen into the river. The entire community had performed the Ceremony of Loss together, murmuring the name Caleb throughout an entire day, less and less frequently, softer in volume, as the long and somber day went on, so that the little Four seemed to fade away gradually from everyone's consciousness. (6.27)
Again, tradition is being used to mask pain. Rather than deal with suffering, recognize it, and work through it, the community just takes the easy way out: they choose to forget it ever happened.