The Significance of Memory in ‘The Giver’: Exploring Themes of Identity

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Updated: Sep 06, 2023
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In a literary work, themes are crucial and often the universal ideas explored. In the book The Giver by Lois Lowry, the author uses various themes to bring out his story. The author is inspired by personal experience to bring out some of the themes of in the story. One of the most crucial themes in the book is the importance of memory when it comes to human life.

The importance of memory is a clear theme that Lowry uses in the book.

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Lowry is inspired to write the book following her visit to her elderly father, whose long-term memories had disappeared. This personal experience made the author realize that memories play a significant role in human life since without the memory most of the things fade away. Lowry argues that without memory there is no pain, no regret or grief since the memory to all these feelings and events fades away with the memory. The importance of memory is a key theme in The Giver, where the author constantly reminds the reader ‘memories are forever’ (Lowry 180). Lowry brings outs this clearly in the book The Giver, where at some point the community in the book decides to eliminate their pain by giving up their memories of their experiences. However, to achieve this, the members of the community had to forget all their pain and refrain from engaging in activities that could result in suffering and pain. Nevertheless, this resulted in losing the collectiveness of their community without their memories.

Lowry insists on the importance of memory in the book. The community in the book seem not to recognize the importance of memory, which necessitates a receiver to keep the memory of the community. Jonas in his training realizes without memory there is no pain, but at the same time, he realizes that there is no true happiness. He explains how his childhood, friendships and sense of security are slipping away with the new heightened feelings; sadness overwhelms him (Lowry 169). It is clear that despite the loss of memory resulting in loss of pain, also results in other feelings of sadness since all the memories are gone, which leaves an emptiness of sadness. Lowry shows that memories are a crucial part of human life and while one may consider removing them to solve a tiny issue, the loss is massive, and memories should be kept.

The author of the book shows how memory makes part an individual’s identity. While Jonas is struggling with issues related to his recollection, he discovers that some memories are worth keeping for one’s identity. He discovers “this was something that he could keep since it was his memory” (Lowry 224). Through the characters in The Giver, Lowry brings out the importance of memory especially when it comes to a person’s identity since a person’s memories make up who there are. As much as an individual may want to erase part of their pain by erasing their memory the good and essential parts of the individual also fades away.

Lowry in the book The Giver brings out the theme of the importance of memory by showing how it best serves human life through the characters of the novel. While others might want to dismiss the significance of memory, it is clear from the book that memory plays a significant role in human life.

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The Significance of Memory in 'The Giver': Exploring Themes of Identity. (2021, May 29). Retrieved from