To Stir or Not to Stir…That Is the Question
Actually the question’s pretty moot since in The Giver there’s only one answer: Stirring is NOT allowed.
The dream that Jonas has and shares with his family in Chapter Five prompts his mother to have Jonas start taking a daily pill. A daily pill to stop the Stirring. Did we forget to mention this little equation? Stirring = Sexuality = NOT ALLOWED! Yes, there’s even a rule about that. Apparently every community member takes a daily pill once the Stirring begins for them – at least until they go into the House of the Old. And how ominous does entering the House of the Old sound by the way? We certainly think it sounds pretty bad.
Lowry is a master in the way she names things. Everything seems like a euphemism to us. “Stirring” means sexuality; to be “released” means…well, we don’t know yet. But in Chapter Six Jonas notes that a person who is “released” gets sent to Elsewhere. Seriously, what does that even mean? At least the concept of Loss is easier to understand – it means accidental death and rarely occurs in the community.
The Ceremony looms large in Chapter Six, with each newchild through Eleven becoming the next named sequential number. Jonas’ sister, Lily, becomes an Eight and gets a jacket that buttons up the front (all Eights get the exact same-looking jacket.) Jonas will become a Twelve and assigned a job role for the rest of his life. If he doesn’t like the assignment, he can appeal to have a different one. Right, like the decision-makers in this community really care…
Unbelievably the Chief Elder skips Jonas in assigning job roles to the Elevens in Chapter Seven. The Chief Elder NEVER makes mistakes. We feel pretty bad for Jonas by the end of the chapter because he thinks he’s done something wrong. Something’s going on because there’s no way that Jonas is a bad kid in our view.