Removing Societies Blindfold: The Giver
More than 10 million copies of the 1994 Newberry Medal winning book The Giver have been sold, which raises the question of why it is so popular. I, myself, read the book in middle school English and immediately fell in love with the work. I have always been fascinated by utopian societies and the new world they bring, but something was different about The Giver. One of the biggest plot twists in the book is one of the THE most interesting twists I have personally ever encountered, and it makes me love the book even more. This plot twist, however, is not the reason the book is so widespread. I think that the reason the book is so popular is because it illustrates the story of one boy changing the society in which he lives.
The book speaks to children and tells them it is possible to follow their dreams, even if it requires them to go against the societal norm. When I dove into the book for the first time of many, I did not realize the impact the novel would have upon me. In fact, I did not realize the impact until a few years ago when I began to make my own decisions, independent of my family, and experience the world in which we live. I felt the desire to follow in the footsteps of Jonas, the main character of the book. Lois Lowry, the author of The Giver, has Jonas make “a decision so powerful in all of its ramifications that readers are likely to feel as torn and tortured as Jonas himself” (Hipple and Maupin 40). It is important to first explain why Jonas is forced to make such a decision in the first place. The society in which Jonas lives is run by wise leaders called elders. They make the decisions for the society as a whole and they force conformity upon the people. Jonas comes of age and is given the role he play for the town, which is the receiver.
Although he is just a normal boy, he takes the opportunity to change society. His task is to receive all the memories that are held by the giver and hidden from city. These memories are of pain, color, war, sadness, and any other emotion or event that could cause difference in the society. Jonas realizes that the people are “in the gray” about the true world in which they live so he decides to go against the elders and remove the blindfold placed over societies’ eyes. Some might compare Jonas to a super hero, due to his ability to quickly and effectively make a great change in a group of people, but I believe that he is just like everyone else. He simply follows what he believes is right and fights for the change. Some would further argue that not everyone can change a society, but anyone who fights hard enough has the capability to free society from the blindfold given to them. While some have more opportunity than others, everyone still has the chance. The poster has a pathos appeal to me due to the childhood memories it brings back. The poster depicts two young teenagers, a boy in front of a girl, in the forefront and two older people in the background.
The only color to the poster is the movie title in red, the teenagers, and some light between the teenagers. Clouds hover in the background and the words “SEARCH FOR TRUTH, FIND FREEDOM” are written at the top in white letters. Near the bottom of the poster it says “Based on the acclaimed best-seller” and the words of various actors, actresses, and artists are written down the middle. The seemingly simple poster gives a lot of information about the movie but it also holds what I believe to be the purpose of the story. Starting with what I think to be the focal point of the poster, the teenagers, one can notice they are one of the few things that contain color. The two people are looking off into the distance with a look of determination. Based upon the look they give and the fact that they are the focal point of the poster, one can determine they are the main characters of the poster, meaning the guy is Jonas. There is an endless possibility as to what they are actually observing because the poster does not capture the image. They could be looking at the city from which they come, watching the people who do not know what is happening in the world. This is what I believe they are looking at because the mountain in the background is right outside the city. Behind the teenagers there are clouds and light. These two features need to be considered together in order to show the opposing ideas they deliver.
Clouds are often used as a symbol of mystery or confusion mainly due to the fact that they cover the sunlight in the sky. While clouds may represent confusion, sunlight is often a symbol of knowledge. Pairing these two concepts together in the poster, I believe that the sunlight coming from behind Jonas represents the knowledge he brings to dispel the confusion, represented by the clouds. The sunlight comes from behind Jonas because he is the one handing out knowledge to the society, thus removing the blindfolds from their eyes. There is a great contrast between these two concepts, considering they are opposites and one contains color while the other does not, so I find it interesting that they can come together to create a cohesive idea in the poster. The two elders, much like the clouds, are without color. Since they have a similar color palate to the clouds I believe the elder people can have the same effect as the clouds. In the movie, the lady on the right is an elder. Her role in society is to control the thoughts and feelings of the society as a whole so it makes sense that she would have similar effects to the clouds. The man on the left, however, is not an elder. He is known as the giver and his story is a lot more complex than that of the elder. While he does mentor Jonas and help him cope through the intense memories given to Jonas, he ultimately tries to stop Jonas from revealing the knowledge to the people of the city.
The giver, has a similar role to the elder, which is to blind the city with confusion. The last feature of the poster to be analyzed is the text. The poster appeals to ethos when looking at the stars that take a role in the movie. Credible actresses like Meryl Streep, Katie Holmes, and Taylor Swift allow the viewer to think highly of the movie due to the famous people that are common in pop culture. The words at the top of the page are obvious in meaning. They simply point towards the truth that Jonas uses to set the society free. The words at the very bottom of the page also provoke ethos in that it tells the viewer that the book was extremely popular and so the movie should be good as well. Hippie, Scherff, Claiborne, Sullins, and Waters say “From the opening scene of this dystopian novel to the last desperate moment of the unresolved ending, this story of Jonas waking to the possibility of life is powerful and delicately rendered” (70). This quotation bolsters the feeling of ethos the poster gives. The last text on the page is the title of the movie, written in red large skinny font.
The title may seem to allude to the man whose job title is the giver but in reality the title means something very different. The title can evoke pathos in every person because once it is understood it evokes the feeling of following ones dream to change society, which is the point of the story itself. The giver relates to Jonas, who frees society by giving them the necessary information to open their eyes to the darkness they have been enclosed in. Contrary to popular belief, one person can change the world, if they have the will and strength to do so. Jonas, as illustrated in this poster, allows the viewer to see the dream come true. He spreads the knowledge to those being controlled and frees them to create a better society even with the elders and the giver trying to stop him. The Giver allows the viewers to experience someone capturing their dream, thus letting them know it’s possible since they can relate to a normal boy. It is up to the viewer on whether or not to follow the dream to change society, but everyone has the opportunity.