What are some basic literary elements found in Chapters 7-8 from Lois Lowry's The Giver?

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Literary elements refer to the different parts of a story, such as: exposition, character, plot, rising action, climax, falling action, and resolution. How each of these elements is constructed helps to add unique style, thrilling suspense, and/or a deeper understanding to the story. Chapters 7 and 8 in ...

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Literary elements refer to the different parts of a story, such as: exposition, character, plot, rising action, climax, falling action, and resolution. How each of these elements is constructed helps to add unique style, thrilling suspense, and/or a deeper understanding to the story. Chapters 7 and 8 in The Giver show the Ceremony of Twelve when the twelve year-olds receive their assignments, which is a big deal. Lowry creates suspense by having the Chief Elder skip over Jonas's assignment without telling him that she plans to name his assignment later. The poor kid, as well as the reader possibly, is sweating buckets thinking that he might have done something wrong to get skipped.

"He saw the others in his group glance at him, embarrassed, and then avert their eyes quickly. He saw a worried look on the face of his group leader.

He hunched his shoulders and tried to make himself smaller in the seat. . . Jonas bowed his head and searched through his mind. What had he done wrong?" (58).

Luckily, his assignment had been saved as for last, but that is only revealed in chapter 8. Hence, Lowry sets up her protagonist (character) for a very isolating scene where the reader will feel sorry for him, and thereby start to hope for his relief. This also forces the reader to invest into the character and the story. It's a good use of storytelling by way of character and rising action within the plot.

In chapter 8, the Chief Elder explains that Jonas has been selected to be the Receiver and then announces a new character who will train Jonas. It would seem that the tension has been relieved, but the Chief Elder actually adds to the tension by saying, 

"We failed in our last selection, . . . it was ten years ago, when Jonas was just a toddler. I will not dwell on the experience because it causes us all terrible discomfort. . . We have not been hasty this time, . . . We could not afford another failure" (61).

Contributing again to the rising action, Lowry has the Chief Elder explain how serious this situation is. This, therefore, places extra strain and responsibility on Jonas's shoulders not to fail again and the question is posed if Jonas will succeed. To add to the responsibility, the Chief Elder says that Jonas has intelligence, integrity, courage, wisdom, and the "Capacity to See Beyond" (63) which will all help him in his assignment. The Chief Elder doesn't understand the last quality, which creates another mystery box for Jonas (and the reader) to open at a later date. Thus, as one mystery is disclosed, another is brought forth, and this is good use of literary elements through character, plot, and rising action.

 

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