As everyone does when reading and analyzing a novel, I had many questions. I found myself pondering different outcomes and answers all throughout the text, and while many of these questions were answered as I continued to read, some of them still remain after I have completed the text. Here are a list of the most pertinent questions that I had while reading The Giver, including those that I discovered the answers to.
- What will Jonas' assignment be?
- What makes Jonas different from the other Elevens? Does he have a unique quality or magical powers of some kind?
- Why isn't the name of Jonas' community ever mentioned?
- What does released mean? Where do people go when they are released?
- Are stirrings a sign of puberty/reaching sexual maturity?
- What significance do Jonas' pale eyes have?
- What does "Thank you for your childhood" really mean? Is there a deeper or hidden meaning behind this statement?
- What does the "capacity to see beyond" mean?
- What does it mean to be a "receiver of memory"?
- Why is The Giver the only only who has a large amount of books? What are all of the books about?
- Will anyone find out that Jonas is giving memories to Gabriel?
- What will happen to Jonas now that he has decided to no longer take his pill? Will his parents find out that he has stopped taking it?
- Who is The Giver's daughter? Has she been previously mentioned or discussed?
- What is the significance of Rosemary being The Giver's daughter?
- What happens to The Giver once Jonas leaves his community?
- Does Jonas actually find the sled in the end or is it a part of his memories/imagination?
- What happens at the end of the novel? Have Jonas and Gabriel actually found a different community or do they die?
When I was pondering all of these questions, I was thinking about how I could turn them into learning experiences and activities for my students. I think that journaling and free writing would work perfectly for answering these types of questions, as it is an excellent way of formatively assessing students on their immediate understanding of the material being covered. I also think that reflection really helps students learn how to be introspective and evaluate why they react the way that they do. Many of the questions that I had while reading The Giver could easily be used as journaling exercises for students. They could record what questions are troubling them, or what they think may be the answer to more structured class-wide questions. Some of the more complex questions such as "What is the significance of Rosemary being The Giver's daughter?" could be used for a more formal writing assignment, such as an in or outside of class essay. Many of the questions can just be discussed in class as well. There are endless possibilities as to how questioning can be used as a form of learning and assessment during a novel study.