"The Giver," Vocabulary from Chapters 1-4

September 26, 2013
12 year-old Jonas is given a huge responsibility in Lois Lowry's "The Giver." He will be the one person who remembers the past in a society committed only to the present and to the lack of emotional depth, a plan they call Sameness. As you read Lois Lowry's "The Giver," learn this word list that focuses on feelings.

Here are links to our lists for the novel: Chapters 1-4, Chapters 5-8, Chapters 9-13, Chapters 14-18, Chapters 19-23
Occasionally, when supplies were delivered by cargo planes to the landing field across the river, the children rode their bicycles to the riverbank and watched, intrigued, the unloading and then the takeoff directed to the west, always away from the community.
The children would also be scolded for showing any feelings of contempt or derision (synonyms that mean "open disrespect for a person or thing"). In this community that relies on cooperation, cheering happens more often than jeering.
Even the children were scolded if they used the term lightly at play, jeering at a teammate who missed a catch or stumbled in a race.
Now, thinking about the feeling of fear as he pedaled home along the river path, he remembered that moment of palpable, stomach-sinking terror when the aircraft had streaked above.
Here, Asher is using the wrong word to describe his feeling, since he wasn't upset but distracted with salmon-watching. This sentence would be more fitting if it had been Jonas describing his feeling in watching an airplane streak twice above the community; it could also foreshadow a later scene involving Jonas and airplanes.
I guess I just got distraught, watching them.
But like all parents—all adults—they didn’t fight and wheedle for their turn.
His feelings were too complicated this evening.
He wanted to share them, but he wasn’t eager to begin the process of sifting through his own complicated emotions, even with the help that he knew his parents could give.
The family could smile at Lily's defiant gesture because she is only a Seven whose clenched fist is not opposing but supporting the community, since it is directed at a visiting Seven who didn't obey the rules. Even so, the family helps Lily to resolve her anger, and she apologizes for making the fist. This scene can be contrasted with Jonas's later acts of defiance, which increasingly require more boldness.
She held up a clenched fist and the rest of the family smiled at her small defiant gesture.
"Resolve" also means "reach a conclusion after a discussion or deliberation"--both definitions fit the purpose of the "evening telling of feelings" ritual; this sounds like a healthy way for families to bond, but as Jonas is discovering, it is also uncomfortably forced, since feelings can be too complicated or private to resolve in an after-dinner discussion.
Lily’s feelings were always straightforward, fairly simple, usually easy to resolve.
“Oh, no,” Mother murmured sympathetically. “I know how sad that must make you feel.”
Jonas and Lily both nodded sympathetically as well.
Most of the people on the night crew had not even been given spouses because they lacked, somehow, the essential capacity to connect to others, which was required for the creation of a family unit.
To see him brought before her a second time caused her overwhelming feelings of frustration and anger. And even guilt, that she hadn’t made a difference in his life.
Soon she smiled, thanked them, and murmured that she felt soothed.
“I’m feeling apprehensive,” he confessed, glad that the appropriate descriptive word had finally come to him.
I felt very fortunate.
And he didn't envy Laborers at all.
Though he had been reassured by the talk with his parents, he hadn’t the slightest idea what Assignment the Elders would be selecting for his future, or how he might feel about it when the day came.
Lily, he decided, would have to learn that soon, or she would be called in for chastisement because of her insensitive chatter.
He felt self-conscious, realizing that he, too, had that look.
I think I’d like that,” Lily said petulantly.
"Humiliation" also means "state of disgrace or loss of self-respect"--both definitions fit because Jonas knew he'd done something wrong, everyone had known he'd done something wrong, and the public announcement called attention to the fact that he'd done something wrong.
Everyone had known, he remembered with humiliation, that the announcement attention, this is a reminder TO MALE ELEVENS THAT OBJECTS ARE NOT TO BE REMOVED FROM THE RECREATION AREA AND THAT SNACKS are TO BE eaten, not hoarded had been specifically directed at him, the day last month that he had taken an apple home.
The role the apple plays here could be compared to the fruit in the story of Eve in the Garden of Eden: both knew the rule, yet were tempted to break it by the possibility of a strange knowledge; both experienced feelings of shame and disgrace. Unlike Jonas, no amount of remorse or apologizing could help Eve regain her place; unlike Eve, Jonas soon discovers that his place is not paradise.
No one had mentioned it, not even his parents, because the public announcement had been sufficient to produce the appropriate remorse.
He probably should have brought up his feeling of bewilderment that very evening when the family unit had shared their feelings of the day.
Jonas had been completely mystified.
The evening proceeded as all evenings did in the family unit, in the dwelling, in the community: quiet, reflective, a time for renewal and preparation for the day to come.
He knew him, of course, since they had always been groupmates, but they had never talked about the boys' accomplishments because such a conversation would have been awkward for Benjamin.
It was a serene and slow-paced place, unlike the busy centers of manufacture and distribution where the daily work of the community occurred.
But to be honest,” she whispered with a mischievous look, “some of the tellings are a little boring.
I’ve never been fond of public speaking.
Maybe they’d study it,” Jonas said slyly, and Larissa chortled with laughter.

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