When “The Giver” hits theaters this Friday, it will be another great reminder that we are nothing without our memories.
Based on Lois Lowry’s 1993 novel, “The Giver” delivers a powerful set of messages to audiences, about the importance of love, choice, and – yes – memory. In the story, the titular Giver (Jeff Bridges) is also called “the receiver of memory.” While society has chosen to forget the painful, but also beautiful memories of the past – the Giver alone bears the weight of these collective memories.
By receiving these memories, Jonas (Brenton Thwaites) learns about pain and loss – but also about beauty, color, joy, and love.
The society in “The Giver” is a shell – on the surface happy, but lacking any true depth or meaning. One of the most powerful messages of “The Giver” is that we are nothing without our memories. Our memories shape us, influence us, and motivate us. Memories are lessons that we can apply moving forward (one of the critical reasons “the receiver of memory” exists within the society of “The Giver”).
This message was relevant when Lowry first published The Giver, and is just as relevant (if not more so) today. “The Giver” serves as an important reminder that we can only look forward and plan for the future, by also looking backward and reflecting on the past.
After all, it is only when Jonas starts to learn the truth about his society and experience some of the Giver’s memories that he truly starts to question his world. It motivates him to fight for something better.
Since "The Giver" was first published, plenty of other young adult authors have also tackled the idea of memory – especially in recent years.
In E. Lockhart’s "We Were Liars," a teen struggles to remember the summer at her family’s private island when she was injured in a mysterious accident.
Alaya Dawn Johnson’s upcoming release "Love is the Drug"finds a teen struggling to remember the truth about her parents’ mysterious work with the government after a party, as a flu pandemic sweeps the world.
The plenthora of YA novels directly addressing the issue of memory, and how impactful it is on our life, is just another example of why memory is so important to us as human beings, and as a society. When “The Giver” hits theaters on Friday, it should be yet another important reminder to cherish these memories, even while looking to the future.
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