The Giver Questions and Answers
by Lois Lowry

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What is the importance of memory in The Giver by Lois Lowry? 

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In The Giver by Lois Lowry, memory represents the world that has been lost, or more accurately the world that has been erased. Because the society in which Jonas lives is tightly controlled, many memories are stored away so that the general population will not be able to recall them. The memories of the world before the dystopian regime was created recall the sweetness of an evening spent with the family by the warmth of a fireplace, or the thrill of whizzing down a snowy slope on a sled. Even painful memories are hidden from people. Their world is so controlled that there are no extremes of pain or of joy. They controlled lives with limited emotions and desires.

Although the community in Jonas’s world is safe because much of the danger that extreme emotions can cause—war, violence, anger, or chaos—are no longer threats, the people lead bland lives. Their community aspires to “sameness” and erases differences. In our world, these very differences often make life most interesting...

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