July 2017 Club

The Giver – Lois Lowry

Imagine living in a world of no pain, no fear, no hunger, no inconvenience, no hatred and no war. Sounds pretty idyllic. But now imagine the cost of living in such a world – no pleasure, no passion, no love, no warmth, no joy, no choice and NO COLOUR!

Jonas lives in this safe community of Sameness. When we meet him, he is preparing for his Ceremony of Twelve where he will be given his Official Assignment, the job that he will take on for the rest of his life.

In this society, children are born to Birthmothers who never see the child again. Children are allocated to Male and Female couples who have decided to bring up children – one boy and one girl per family unit. Once the couple has brought up the children, they never see them again and go and live with the Childless Adults, until they’re elderly enough to enter the House of the Old where eventually they will be “released” to Elsewhere.

Politeness and precise language are expected. Children are allocated a number according to their birth order. All feelings of sexuality must be repressed and “faulty” children are “released”. It’s a strangely repressive society yet its inhabitants seem content, because they don’t know anything different.

It’s not until halfway through the book that the reader realises that this is a world devoid of colour. As the tale is told from Jonas’s perspective, he does not know what colour is, so he doesn’t know that it exists. There are hints that he has strangely shaded light eyes and can see that some items “change”, but it is only when he is assigned the role of the Receiver of Memory that the Giver tells him that he is starting to see colour.

As the Receiver of Memory, Jonas is expected to take on the pain of the community to shelter them from bad memories. He experiences injury, hunger and war, but also love and compassion. Jonas realises that in order to fully experience the good things in life, we also need to experience suffering to appreciate them.

The question is how Jonas will escape from his oppressive life.

Colourway inspiration

The semi-solid colourway represents the colourless society – so I dyed it a neutral taupe-grey and called it Sameness.

The variegated colourway represents Jonas’s entry into a world of colour – so I dyed the yarn the same taupe-grey, leaving white sections to add all the colours of the rainbow and called it Memory of a Rainbow. As it represents a memory, it should be a little hazy, so the colours transition into the grey.

The yarn type is Selkino – a luxury merino and silk single which reflects the single-mindedness of Jonas to save the baby, Gabriel.