Tuesday, 12 April 2011

Post-Reading task: What happened after Jonas left the community (told from Fiona's perspective)

The happenings after Jonas' escape were extremely horrible. Directly, after Jonas' missing was noticed, we heard a speech from the Speakers that we had to assemble altogether in the auditorium. There the old Receiver told us that something would happen to us. Something which would be very hard to bear for us. He said that we would receive memories from the history about things that we wouldn't understand. Nobody knew what he meant by this, but he went on with his explanations. He explained us what we had to do when the memories were there. We should focus on one of the first memories that we got, in the best case one that made us feel good, and then concentrate on it so that we didn't get interrupted by other ones. When we were “ready” with that memory we should went on with the next ones that came in our minds. The Receiver told us, that it would take a long time to go trough all this memories, primary they would appear without any breaks in between. But after a while there wouldn't appear directly a new one when the other memory was finished. He said the beginning was the hardest part of it, however, even after weeks this memories could hit us unexpectedly. Still, sometimes I get a new memory. That was all of our preparation we got before the memories reached us.
Even though I didn't know what exactly I had expected, it was completely different. There were no memories, there were different feelings combined with pictures which dashed through my head. All this picture didn't mean anything to me but every single feeling I got was stronger than the ones I felt ever before. It was so confusing and I couldn't control anything. I tried to watch what the other people did, but all I could see were these pictures. It was like they were real. Then suddenly I saw a picture of myself. With all my consciousness I tried to keep this picture before my eyes. I felt like I was the person riding on a bike, talking to myself. But my voice sounded different, it sounded like the one from a boy. Like the one from Jonas. I remembered this memory. I already owned it. With the little difference that in mine I saw Jonas riding on his bike. But something else was different. In between my hair changed. Today, I know I started to see the colour red. To my own surprise this memory wasn't filled up with strong feelings, it was just like I was accustomed. Later on, after I got a lot other memories, I realized it was because it was a memory from Jonas when he still was a normal community member. But after this memory the pictures and the really strong feelings started dashing through my mind again. It was like my head would burst. I didn't want this any longer. All this emotions made me so exhausted. I forced myself to open my eyes and stand up. The mix of feelings still let me stumble, but I could watch what happened around me. Nearly nobody was still on his seat. Some were curling on the ground, other ones were erring through the corridors with an empty, crazy or hopeless look and some ran via the open doors outside. I followed them and saw how some of them drowned themselves in the river. That frightened me. Were they so desperate because they couldn't deal with this situation or because they had receive some really bad memories? Until now, I didn't know the reason for their mass suicides. When I saw them I knew I had to expose me with the memories. I looked for a silent and secluded place in the wood and sit down. For the next three days I didn't move. I closed my eyes and tried to focus on the first memory I got. This wasn't a good one, I saw how a human killed another one. I felt really sad, because apparently I knew this person, and simultaneously so scared that the murderer wouldn't discover my stash. But I withstand this feelings and after this memory I caught a good one where I had a little baby in my arm and felt so much love for it.
After this three days I felt exhausted but also relieved. Although I didn't know exactly every designation for the things I became acquainted with, I got a really good overview about how life was before Sameness. Although there happened really bad things in the past, it is not fair what our community leaders did to us. They took the ability to feel from us. That haven't been real feelings I felt in my first thirteen years of age. And of course they killed people without being punished for that. I am happy that I escaped from the community like Jonas did but I often think about how they might life today. There must have been changes in their way of life after these revelations. But I wasn't patient enough for them to come. When these three days were over I directly left the community with enough food and clothes and in the end reached your town. After a while I asked myself why I didn't talked to the old Receiver, but I have to admit that this thought didn't came into my mind. And to turn back was no option for me. I am happy here but I think any time I will return to my community to look how they are and how they life. Maybe the community doesn't exist any more. Maybe other people fled as well. And maybe I can find out what happened to Jonas...

Thursday, 7 April 2011

Chapter 23: Jonas' escape

When I saw on Ann-Kathrin's side the song text of an Bon Jovi song, I remembered the song “Mad World” by Gary Jules and Michael Andrews (it's a cover version, the original one is from Tears For Fears). I think the lyrics fits very good to the situation in which Jonas is in the last few chapters.
All around me are familiar faces
Worn out places
Worn out faces
Bright and early for the daily races
Going nowhere
Going nowhere
Their tears are filling up their glasses
No expression
No expression
Hide my head I want to drown my sorrow
No tomorrow
No tomorrow

And I find it kind of funny
I find it kind of sad
The dreams in which
I’m dying are the best I’ve ever had
I find it hard to tell you
I find it hard to take
When people run in circles it’s a very very
Mad world
Mad world
. .
Enlarging your world
Mad world
All around me are familiar faces ;Worn out faces : Jonas doesn't feel any longer comfortable in the community. He doesn't want to see his family any longer, especially his father. Going nowhere: He doesn't see any sense in the regular daily routine 
Bright and early for the daily races: He can't understand how this could be enough for the other community members.
No expressions: He is tired of this life without feelings. 
Hide my head I want to drown my sorrow: He doesn't want to feel the pain of the Memories any longer or the pain which his father unknowingly added to him. The rest of the song fits to his escape with Gabe:
No tomorrow: Jonas doesn't know how he and Gabe should survive without any food and thick clothing. 
The dreams in which I'm dying are the best I've ever had: The book has an open ending. Shortly before the book is over Jonas thinks that he sees lighted windows, lit up by Christmas trees. And he heard people singing. We don't get to know whether this is real or just an imagination of Jonas but it seems to be like the place were he ever wanted to be.
When people run in circles it's a very very mad world: In his old community there were no changes or any progression. Every day was the same. 
Enlarging your world: That is what Jonas did with his escape. He couldn't continue his life as being the new Receiver and escaped with Gabe to explore more of the world.

Monday, 4 April 2011

Chapter 19: The first release for Jonas' father

This post is about the first release which Jonas' father had to do.

I don't feel like I'm a murder. I have to do what is the best for the community. And it isn't just me. There are all the other Nurturers and geriatric nurses who also have to take care of this. And of course the Elders who decide about who is going to be released. Nevertheless this introduction first confuses me. A few years ago before I started my training to get a full Nurturer I thought release would mean something different: an entering into a new, better life (if this is possible). And for the twins to get to a good caring family. I still don't know what is going to happen with the body when I'm ready. But I'm not allowed to ask someone or even myself this question. But this is good about the community: they make me not to worry about things like that. The Elders know what is the best to do with the dead body. We don't have to care. Or maybe it's the job of someone else, in any case nothing I have to deal with. And I guess they take the real meaning of release as a secret because the little children wouldn't understand it and maybe get scared. But it is necessary. We can't have two exactly the same looking persons in our community or keep someone who doesn't observe the rules. And for the Olds it is the ending of a wonderful and happy life. What could they want more? I'm ready for this next step in my training.

Thursday, 31 March 2011

Chapter 17: Interior monologue of Asher on the pitch

Yeah, I hit him. But why is he still standing? Didn't he notice it? “You're hit, Jonas!” Doesn't he believe me? He still doesn't lie on the ground. Well...I'm just going to shoot him down again. “Pow!You're hit again!” What is he doing there? He must have heard me and seen how I hit him. Why is he shaking now? Does he want to play his role more realistic? Maybe he should have been chosen as an actor and not as our new Receiver. That's enough. He doesn't act like a hit man. He is just standing there and doing nothing. He destroys the whole game. I should go to him and give him a tongue-lashing. “You ruined it”....

Tuesday, 29 March 2011

Chapter 13

The memories the Giver gave Jonas until this part of the story where just ones which show the good sides of life without the Sameness (even the painful sunburn memory is not that bad-Jonas enjoyed lying in the sun: the sunburn was just a not so good ancillary effect). But the memory in chapter 13 offers Jonas the greedy, brutal side of the human. They hurt an elephant just because of his ivory tusks and let him die in the desert.

Source: http://www.welt.de/multimedia/archive/00616/Elefant08_DW_Wissen_616532g.jpg

Chapters 10+11: Diary entry

Dear diary,
today was my first day at work. Although the Chief Elder talked a little bit about what I will do and I got the printed sheet with my instructions, I didn't really know what I should expect. What was I going to do? On my way from home to the Annex entrance, which is behind the House of the Old, I was very nervous. I drove with Fiona, but it was very hard for me to focus on her words. My thoughts drifted all the time away, to what would happen in the Annex. Finally, we arrived at the House of Old and Fiona went to her work. For sure, I didn't want to be late at my first day, so I entered the building. A kind woman welcomed me. She unlocked the door to a room and asked me to go in. I was really confused why the door was locked. There is never a unlocked door anywhere. Although she said there was nothing dangerous in there, I had a queasy feeling. But of course I walked in and found myself in quite a pretty and comfortable room. The most remarkable thing in this room was that there were many books. More than I've ever seen or could even imagine to exist. Then I noticed the old man sitting on a chair. As welcoming he called me the Receiver of memory. From now on I'm the new Receiver for the community and he isn't. He wanted me to asks questions. Even though I had (and still have) many of them I didn't start asking them directly. But after he started telling what he's going to teach me, I had to ask some to understand what he meant. He told me that I will receive the whole history of the world from him. When he started talking about things I've never heard before, he decided to begin with the Transmission of Memories. That means that he gave some of his memories to me which were deleted then from his mind. Before he started to transmit, I saw him switching off a speaker. I didn't know how to interpret his behaviour but I was too exited about what was going to happen next that I wondered much about it. He transmitted three different situations to me. All three times he put his hand on my shoulder, I closed my eyes and suddenly I found myself at different places. The first time I was on something that is called a hill. And on this hill the floor was covered with small crystals. These crystals also came down from the sky. This is called snow. I didn't stand on this hill, I sat on a thing called sled. First, I didn't know why I knew all the names but it didn't matter for me that moment. Later the Giver (I asked him how I should call him and that was his answer) told me that he said them to me during I was in the memory. But to go on with the memory : I sat on this slide and suddenly it went downwards. I wasn't scared. I had really fun. Even when the slide went faster and faster I didn't want it to end. Bizarrely, I had the wish to scream out loud. However, the sled stopped. I guess it was because the snow got too deep. Then I opened my eyes and recognized I was still in the same room. The Giver told me that this memory was from a long time ago before people started to control the climate and made the hills disappear. So I didn't know anything about the next memory he gave me as well. It was sunshine. This time he didn't tell me the name of it, but I did get to know it on my own, which made me a little bit proud. The first memory made my skin feel cold. This one in contrast made it feel warm and pleasant. It came from anywhere from the sky. Although I just lay there and didn't do anything the memory wasn't boring for me. When the memory ended and I “woke up” again I felt for a short time pretty good. But then I remembered that my job also should be painful, so I asked the Receiver for a painful memory. First he didn't wanted to give me one, but the he finally did. This memory was similar to the one before with the sunshine, but this one extended over a longer period of time. Although the memory was as long as the other ones. All of my skin that lay frontal to the sun began to hurt. The pain was so big that I didn't get the word for it and the Giver had to tell me at the end of the memory: sunburn. Even though this memory was a painful one I didn't regret that I wanted it. It made me know a little bit more about my job and about what I have to expect.  

Saturday, 26 March 2011

Chapter 9: Jonas' rules

There are seven rules which Jonas has to observe. They pose some questions about what is Jonas going to do. The first two rules seem to be very normal and could be the same ones for other new Twelves as well.
     1.Go immediately at the end of school hours each day to the Annex entrance behind the house of the Old and present yourself to the attendant.
     2.Go immediately to your dwelling at the conclusion of Training Hours each day.
These two rules could be made because maybe all the school and training stuff exhaust Jonas and the Elders want him to be fit and rested all the time.
The third rule allows Jonas to ask any question to anyone.
     3. From this moment you are exempted from rules governing rudeness. You may ask any question to any aaaaacitizen and you will receive the answers.
In a community like the one Jonas lives in this gives the person who is allowed to ask these questions a little more freedom. But the rule doesn't make Jonas exited at all. Isn't he he curious about someones feelings or dreams? Does nobody have any secrets in the community?
     4 .Do not discuss your training with any other member of the community, including your parents and aaaaaElders.
Jonas isn't allowed to share his experiences with anybody. That doesn't fit to the things we know about the community. He talks normally with his family about everything and shares his feelings with them.
     5. From this moment on you are prohibited from dream-telling.
I guess this rule gives a foreshadowing about what will happen later in the book. Jonas doesn't dream very often or has special dreams, so there must be s change with his dreaming.
     6. Except for illness or injury unrelated to your training, do not apply for any medication.
Like the Elder said in the Ceremony of Twelve: “The training required of you involves pain. Physical pain.”(p.53 ll.27/28) Jonas' job has something to do with pain and maybe this pain plays an important role there.
     7. You are not permitted to apply for release.
His work must be very hard and maybe he'll find out something about his community that makes him not want to live there any longer.
The last rule is:
     8. You may lie.
Jonas isn't allowed to talk to anyone about his work. This rule could protect him a little bit from the curiosity of the other community members so that he won't become an outsider.

Chapter 8: Summary of Jonas' selection + Diary entry

Summary of Jonas' selection
Different from all the other Elevens, Jonas doesn't get an assignment. He is chosen to be the new Receiver of the Memory of the community. Those selections are very seldom and there is always just one Receiver in the community. The old Receiver has to brief Jonas for his new tasks. Jonas has got the three qualities which are necessary for this job: Intelligence, integrity, courage and he is going to get the last one, wisdom. He also has the “Capity to See Beyond”.That means he is able to see things the other community members are not able to see. First time he saw the apple changing and in the Ceremony he notices that the community changes as well. Jonas thinks that the community accepts him as the new Receiver and is glad about his selection but has also a lot of fear.

Diary entry
Dear diary,
Finally, today was the Ceremony of Twelve. When I woke up in the morning I was very nervous. I knew I would have to wait after the midday break but even then the Elevens would come first. Anyway, the time came when the first Twelve went up the steps of the stage to the Chief Elder. It was very hard for me to wait for my time and not just ran there, too. But I was very patient and waited for my time to come. Then number 17 came and after that 19..I was shocked. How could the Elder forget me? I felt very ashamed. Till the end of the Twelves she didn't mention my name. When she finished she said that she hadn't made any mistake and called me up to the stage. It was very hard for me to go there, because the waiting and not knowing what would happen next had even made me more nervous. But somehow I managed and the she told me I would be the new Receiver of the Memory. At first, I didn't know what that meant, but she explained it to me and the community and so I realized what an important job they gave me. She also told me something about the “Capacity to See Beyond”. Initially I couldn't imagine what this should be but then I remembered the happening with the apple and suddenly the community looked different to me. Then I knew that I have this special quality. The whole community started to say my name and my selection made me very proud and grateful. But the Elder spoke about physical pain and that only the old Receiver could introduce me into my work which wouldn't be that easy, so I'm really scared. I can't imagine what I'm going to do and how important my job is exactly for the community.

Chapters 6+7: Process of the Ceremonies

Day 1
-ride to the ceremonies with their bicycles
-parents get two days holidays
-all sit in a huge hall: Auditorium
-Newchildren are sitting on Nurturers laps in the front of the hall
-Elevens and Twelves sit in the balcony
-start of the ceremonies: Nurturer bring the Newchildren to the stage, there the Newchildren get a name and a family
-Ceremony of Twos
-Ceremony of Threes
-Ceremony of Fours
-midday meal
-Ceremony of Sevens
-Ceremony of Eights →get their new jackets
-end of day one

Day 2
-Nines drive in with their bicycles
-Ceremony of Nines
-Ceremony of Tens →get a new haircut
-Ceremony of Elevens→new clothes
-midday meal
-Twelves changes places: sit in front of the stage
-get to the stage in course of their numbers
-Chief Elder calls one by one to the stage
-talks about their strengths
-gives them their assigments
-thanks them for their childhood
-end of the Ceremonies

Chapter 6: Analysis of a fictional film sequence

As we just had analysis of films I chose a scene from chapter 6 (page 41, lines 1-5) and want to show how this scene might be pictured in a movie. I chose this scene because it shows the grieving process of the community and their reaction of a sudden death . 

1. Snapshot

This snapshot is taken in a full shot/medium long shot. It gives an overview of the situation and you can see how the little boy of the family runs in an unnoticed moment to river, while his parents are watching the nature. As you can see the parents stand close together but they don't have any physical contact.

This snapshot is taken in a medium shot. The boy is now fallen into the water and you can just see his hand over the water surface. Around his hand is water so that there is nothing which could rescue him.

3. snapshot
This snapshot is taken in a close up from the drowned boy's mother. I chose this picture because you can see there the shocked face of a women but she isn't crying. Crying would be a too strong emotion for members of the community in the public to show.

4. snapshot

This snapshot is taken in a full shot. You can see the gardeners going on with their work saying the dead boy's name to show their support to his parent and performing the Ceremony of Loss.

I didn't looked up for a picture of a funeral because I'm not that sure whether they have something like this in their community. I think that would have been mentioned in the book.

Tuesday, 8 March 2011

Chapters 3+4+5: Other strange things of the community Jonas lives in

In my summary of the chapters one and two I told you at the end something about the differences of Jonas' culture and ours. In the chapters threefour and five I noticed more strange things, which I want to explain to you now.

First I want to tell you some similarities. The little children have something which is called "comfort objekt". I guess it is something like stuffed animal (Kuscheltier) for us.
They also have a almshouse, they call it House of the Old. But in distinction from our culture you don't die there. When you had a successful live you come into the Releasing Room. Nobody knows what exactly it is.
Now I start with the differences. At the beginning of chapter three you get to know that Jonas' eyes are different from nearly all the eyes from the other community members. There are only two other persons who have pale eyes instead off dark ones too: a female Five and the newchild who belongs to Jonas' family unit now (of course it is not a full family member, because Jonas' parents allready have two children, it is somethink like a foster child.) When Lily mentions this to Jonas he fumes at her. „It was not a rule, but was considered rude to call attention to things that were unsettling or different about individuals.“ (p.23; ll.12-13)The children were not educated to develop their own personality, they should be like all the others, nothing special.
Then, when Lily talks about her wish to become a birthmother, you get to know that the parents don't raise their own children. They've got special birthmothers for that who are allowed to give birth to three children and after that they have to do hard physical work until they get to the House of the Old. They don't even see their babies.
The next thing is that there are announcements for every offence against the law. These announcements are made by a Speaker and have to be made through something like loudspeaker, because all the people in the community can hear them. And without saying any name everyone knows who broke the rule.
When the children become an Eight they get free hours in which they can do what they want. They should use this freedom to help the community and test different jobs they are interested in.
In the mornings the families have a special ritual: they talk about their dreams they had last night.In chapter five Jonas dreamed of a girl called Fiona. He wanted to wash her (like he does to the Olds when he is at their house) and he wanted her to be naked. Only for the Olds it is allowed to be seen from someone else naked. His mother called this dream the beginning of the Stirrings. He has to take a pill so that this won't happen again, which he has to take every day from now on.
At least here are some rules from the community:
1.You are only allowed to ride a bicycle when you are older than nine.
2.You are not allowed to take any food home.
3.Hair ribbons are to be neatly tied at all times.
At the end of the post here are the, I think, two most important questions to these chapters:
1. What exactly are Sterrings (For me it sounds like to have some romantic feelings for a person) and why aren't you allowed to have them?
2. How do they make babies when not even doctors are allowed to see naked people?

Thursday, 3 March 2011

Chapters 1+2: Introduction to the book

I have read the first two chapters of the book now and want to give you a overview about what happened there. It is a mix of my first impressions and a summary.
At first I noticed the dedication: “For all the children to whom we entrust the future”. The author, Lois Lowry, doesn't say “thank you” to special persons who might have helped her or have given her inspiration to write the book. It's more like she wants to say for who she has written the book: for the children →and the first chapter starts with the eleven-year-old child Jonas. At the beginning he seems to be very confused and doesn't know how he feels. Instead of saying what makes him feeling like that he starts to tell stories from his past: about an aircraft which flew very close above his head and about his best friend Asher who has problems with grammar and being on time. Shortly before he gets home he finds a word that express his feelings good “apprehensive”. At home he talks with his family (mother, father and sister Lily) about how he feels about the day. There the reader gets to know why Jonas is apprehensive. He is worried about a Ceremony which he has to hold in December. There are no further explanations about what it will be like but that all the people from year zero to twelve have this every year and that this will be the last one for Jonas. After that he gets a job from the Elders (they are something like the legislators there)attached. He is worried that he won't like it and doesn't have any longer time to be a child but his father tells him that everything will be all right.
Even though Jonas is eleven years old and his sister is seven, I think it is a little bit strange to sit down with your family every evening and talk about your feelings. That was the first time when I started to recognize that Jonas doesn't live in the same culture than we do. Another thing that boosts this impression is that they don't speak about their ages like we do. Instead that he just says “My sister is just seven years old”, he says something like “My sister is only a Seven”. They also have a different style to count the years: all the babies who are born in the time between the first January and December within a year, gets in this December a One. And Jonas' mother tells that after their twelfth birthday they age doesn't count for them at all.
Another strange thing is that they can release people out of their community and that this is the worst thing that can happen to them. Moreover they are only allowed to have two children: a boy and a girl.
I think until now the book is easy to understand but I am not that sure wether I like that story or not.

Wednesday, 2 March 2011

Pre-reading task: the book cover

When I saw the cover of the book, I couldn't see any connection between the title "The Giver" and the picture on it. You can see there two persons who are opposing each other and have outstreched arms. One of the persons looks like a boy, the other one seems to be an old man. There is distance between them and their gestures say something like: "Don't come any closer". None of them gives anything to the other one or has anything nearby which he could give away. 
The cover doesn't give any information about what might be the theme of the book. Normally, I think this could create some suspense, because the reader wants to know what the book is about and reads it, but in this case the cover is boring so that the reader isn't interest in it.

Welcome to my reading blog about the book "The Giver"