For a long time I’ve wondered what happened to Jonas and the small boy he fled with in Lois Lowry’s brilliantly crafted, The Giver. I was thrilled to read the conclusion to this story. Lowry beautifully combines the stories from all three books, The Giver, Gathering Blue and The Messenger. In Son, we are transported back to the Community during the time when Jonas gets his assignment as the Receiver of Memories. We are introduced to Claire who gets her assignment as birthmother. She becomes pregnant with her first “product” with very little education about what will happen during the pregnancy and birth process. After a difficult delivery, she is given a new assignment and is left to wonder about what happens to her son. After Jonas escapes with a child, Claire takes her own journey through the communities we are introduced to in the other two books. Her goal, to find her son. Both Jonas and Claire’s stories are weaved together in ways that are both familiar and surprising. I was fully immersed back in Lowry’s disturbing dystopian world, with wonderful characters that I now miss since the book ended. One question I have that was never answered was why the Community did not have birds or rain. I would have liked to know more about that. I loved this book as much as The Giver. The ending is satisfying and the imagery of climbing up the rock face and the transformation Claire went through to accomplish this was very inspiring.
Some ideas for discussing with teens:
Discuss the word, “indoctrination.”
What would it be like not to choose your future? Pros and cons.
Why do you think they blindfold the birth mothers?
Discuss this passage, “Men’s work? Women’s work? Here in the community there is no difference.” (pg 88)
Discuss how the community treated the parents of Caleb, the boy who drowned in the river.
Why would the community not teach children colors?
Why do you think they took pills in the community?
Discuss Claire’s reaction to animals and music in the Village.
Talk about the differences of marriage and spouses between the Village and the Community.
Discuss Claire’s relationship with Einar.
Would you have made the trade the way Claire did?
Discuss the questions on page 290 about the villagers not wanting newcomers.
Discuss the similarities between Gabe and Einar when they turned down the Trademaster.