Lois Lowry Questions and Answers

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What is the time, place, conflict, and genre of Messenger by Lois Lowry?

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Valentine England eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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Let us examine the elements you mentioned below:

Time: Lois Lowry's The Messenger takes place vaguely in the future. The novel is set approximately eight years after the events of The Giver and approximately six years after the events of Gathering Blue.

Place:The novel takes place in the Village, an isolated community which is surrounded by an ominous Forest. The Forest is living and is capable of delivering warnings. The inhabitants of the Village have been exiled from their previous homes, and many of them are gravely ill or injured. 

Conflict: The novel's conflict focuses on the psychological and personality changes occurring within the people of the Village; they want to close the borders of their land in order to keep out unwanted members from other communities. As a result, Seer sends Matty to travel through the Forest in order to bring back his daughter, Kira. Although Matty wants to be the Messenger, he winds up being named the Healer after he restores integrity to the Village and the Forest after his journey.

Genre: The Messenger is considered a fantasy novel; we might even argue that it is a dystopian fantasy. 

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anthonda49 eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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Messenger is the third in a trilogy of fantasy novels beginning with The Giver. Since it is fantasy, there is no specific time or place in which the story occurs. The future (from the first novel's setting) is the time in which the action occurs. The book refers to Village as the place where inhabitants who were ill, crippled, or in some way deficient came to live after being cast out of their previous towns. The problem in the story is that some outside influence seems to be changing the villagers from their usual kindly selves into quarrelsome, greedy individuals. In turn, Forest, an area that separates other towns from Village, becomes an evil, twisted place that seeks to ensnare people as they travel. This occurs after the inhabitants visit something called Trade Mart and barter something unknown but personal for an objective they desire. The problem is solved, but at great cost, by the main character Matty, who uses his unique healing abilities to cure the ills of that fantasy world.

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