Sunday, October 27, 2013
Talking about THE GIVER today. Even though it was published in 1993, it's in the news a lot these days because it's being made into a movie.
And because this young woman has been cast in said movie:
She's been cast in a role that has more emotional than actual presence in the book, so it will be interesting to see what they've done to expand that role.
AT ANY RATE, because this is mostly a blog about writing, I decided that instead of discussing the entire book and its many attributes, I will just note one particular thing about the way Lois Lowry crafted her story, a thing that has become a writerly tip for me and (I hope) for others:
I aspire to her ability to reveal.
It isn't until page 94 (of a 179-page book) that we learn our main character Jonas and all his friends and family do not see colors. The Giver tells Jonas that the fleeting glimpse of a "mysterious quality" he has seen in an apple and in his friend's hair is the color red.
And wow again.
Under less skilled hands, we would have learned that fact much earlier in the book. But Lowry deftly, patiently grows her world of "Sameness" for us, establishing the concept of a one-note society in which you are assigned your family, your profession, your home. And even though, as you read about this world where there are no real animals or cars, and you slowly become horrified by the lack of choice and personality and individuality, it never occurs to you (or it didn't to me) that these poor sods can't even see the color of each other's hair, much less the sky, grass, and trees around them. And there's a brief mention of an Aryan Empire-style attempt to breed away skin color as well so that everyone is the same.
Bu they can't see color. All they can comprehend is that some people - like Jonas - have light eyes. But those people are considered "different", and thus are shamed by that quality and no one talks about it for fear of embarrassment.
So I aim to reveal as well as Lowry, and I look forward to seeing the fun they will have putting this moment on film.
And as I have done before, I encourage all the writers out there to use this talent for revealing to make your own work better.
Be brilliant! (And colorful)