In The Giver by Lois Lowry, ignorance of the past is an important part of the community as it seeks to eliminate conflict and pain. That being the case, why is there a need for the role of a Giver?
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The utopian society Lowry created in this novel has tried to free itself of all pain and conflict, and an important part of this process has been to eliminate personal and collective memories of the past. Thus old animosities, again, both personal and collective, will not surface to create more conflict between and among members of the society. However, this society does recognize the necessity of sometimes referring to the past in an attempt to avoiding future mistakes; therein lies the purpose of the Giver. The person charged with this role basically must carry the knowledge of society's history on his own, until the time comes to train a new Giver. As Jonas gets to know the Giver, he comes to see the great pain the Giver bears on a daily basis, as he must carry the weight of the past, in all of its painful glory, all by himself; what this society failed to recognize, however, and the overarching theme of the novel, is that you must have the bad to have the good in life and vice versa, and by allowing the Giver access to the painfu past, he has also been allowed access to that which this society has tried to eliminate, joy and love. Couple that with Jonas's youthful idealism and willingness to ask questions (not to mention having an occasional independent thought, a major faux pas in his community) and you have all the ingredients for the downfall, or at least the beginning of a crumbling of this society as Jonas becomes increasingly desperate to escape.
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