Each year thousands of books are either banned or challenged. Most are classics like The Great Gatsby, Huckleberry and Finn, or Lord of the Flies. Books that have been challenged or banned usually have themes of sexually explicit, violence, bad language, and more. The list goes on and on for why it has been banned or challenged. In singling out one book, The Giver by Lois Lowry was banned for “sexual passages, pill-popping, suicide, and lethal injections,” (Doyle). The Giver should not be banned because it forces readers to look past the violence, sexual scenes, and euthanasia; It makes them see what it is like living through those who can’t remember and enjoy the smallest to biggest memories or thoughts in life.
The Giver is a novel about a twelve year old boy name Jonas. In each family unit there is two parents, one boy, and one girl. They live in a community where everything is the same and rules must be followed. The ceremony of twelve is coming up and Jonas is nervous. This is the ceremony that his whole age group become twelve of age and are given their job. The elders have given him the task of the next Receiver. The Receiver is someone who holds all the past and present memories of everything that was or is. He is taught by a man who calls himself the giver. Jonas is able to experience color, love, pain, and more for the first time. This drives Jonas to do something about the sameness and what goes on in his community. So he takes a newborn about to be released and runs to elsewhere in order for the community to receive the memories he has and to save the life of an infant.
Lethal Injections is the first example of why The Giver was challenged. In the book you can find an example of it on page nine. “. . . [B]ut the committee’s beginning to talk about releasing him” (Lowry 9). In this quote his father is talking about an infant who is not growing fast enough. When an infant isn’t growing fast enough, they are released otherwise known as a lethal injection. “The rules say that if there’s a third transgression, he simply has to be released” (Lowry 11). After breaking the rules three times, one is simply released by the lethal injections. “Release of the elderly, which was a time of celebration for a life well and fully lived. . .” (Lowry 10). When members of the society get up in age and its time for them to leave, they celebrate their life before giving them the lethal injection. Pill popping is another reason for why the book was banned. “Now he swallowed the small pill that his mother handed him” (Lowry 48). Each morning his parents and now Jonas take pills to ensure that they are just the same as everyone else. “May I have relief-of-pain, please?” (Lowry 138). Jonas has received a memory from The Giver that causes him pain in the dream, but only soreness in real life. This can be concerned pill popping, because nothing happened to cause the pain other than a memory. The theme of sexual passage can be found in a dream that Jonas was having and which they label as “stirrings”. “I wanted her to take off her clothes and get into the tub,” (Lowry 45). Jonas has this dream of where he is in the bathing room at the House of the Old. Standing in the room with him is his friend Fiona. Jonas wants her to take off her clothes and into the tub so that he may bathe her. Only problem was that she would not get into the tub and was laughing at him. The last theme it was challenged for is suicide. “And I listened as Rosemary told them that she would prefer to inject herself. Then she did so. . .” (Lowry 184). Rosemary was the new receiver ten years before Jonas was. Everything that she had been given was too much and she applied to be released. In doing so, she asked do inject herself. Therefore this part would be concerned the suicide in the book.
“Lowry came up with the idea of a scary, sterile world where nearly everyone takes drugs to suppress their memories and emotions after her father was put in a nursing home,” (Ulaby). This statement is exactly why the book should not be banned. Its not about violence or lethal injections, its about opening the mind to what is would be like or is like to lose or never remember memories. Folks who are in nursing homes are on medications to keep them healthy and alive. Not just because of the medicines they are given, but the human body is shutting down after doing its job, causes these people to live without their memories. Most importantly she wanted to write a book “. . . about people who had found a way to manipulate human memory, so they wouldn’t have to remember anything bad,”(Ulaby). She was creating a world where no one felt pain or had to go through the memories of pain. With no pain in the world, everyone is at peace. “The Giver serves as a metaphor for teaching history,” (Bruger). Each memory that Jonas receives is basically the history of humanity. Humanity has history of war, love, pain, and more. In our society, people called historians either write down past events or tell it orally. The man giving Jonas the memories serves as a history teacher. All schools and colleges have some type of history class. Whether it is of their country or of another’s country. Jonas is a student learning about history just as everyday school kids do. The Giver teaches us how and why we remember the things we do. Like a lost of a love one would be what is remembered. How it is remembered is a room filled with people hugging and crying. Why it was remember was because that person was a love one and are never truly forgotten. The book has so much more to give than being held back over a few themes. The themes play a role in what the author is trying to teach us. The pills are what is causing them to accept things a lot more rather than make choices for themselves. It also masks emotions, so that no one really feels anything. Lowry puts death in the most softest way anyone could come up with by calling it released. Parents who are challenging the book over it should be grateful that it is put in a way a young child can understand, but keep it in a way that is light to where it doesn’t upset a child.
The Giver should not be banned over the small things, but rather appreciate at what it teaches readers. The book has been challenged on topics of lethal injections, sexual themes, suicide, and pill popping (Doyle). The book wasn’t written for unpleasure, it was written to show readers what it would be like living a life that mask all emotions and memories. To open one’s mind to what it is like for people who can’t remember memories, names, or faces. It shows what it is like living without our emotions. The Giver teaches us to savour the colors we see and the memories we have, while showing us the black and white.