Wednesday, August 13, 2014

College Fashion Link Up: The Giver

 I've been on a bit of a re-reading kick lately, partially because I feel like summer always leads to a bit of nostalgia to the long, lazy days in reading chairs from my youth, but also because I'm still struggling to get out of the Summer Slump that I've been talking about recently. While returning to some of my favorite stories doesn't earn me many points in knocking down that bordering-on-disastrous TBR pile currently terrorizing the top shelves of my bookcase, it's definitely a fun trip to see just how much you hang on to from when you last read a great novel.

Which brings us to an oldie-but-goodie, with a brand spankin' new movie coming out, just begging for its own College Fashion post: Lois Lowry's seminal sci-fi-for-kids book, The Giver.

When I first read The Giver, it was a part of the disastrous kinds of "challenge" books placed on many a middle school reading list. However, unlike most of those kinds of reading material, I was able to look beyond the fact that it was required for school, and really enjoy it! And, like many who've read the story of Jonas and his community, I found the story itself enthralling, but hated the ending... but maybe because of a different reason than you would think! I was such a stickler for rules and regulation - and, in many ways, still am - that when I first read the novel, I loved the idea of a society where everything is equalized, sterilized, and taken care of for you, providing you followed directions.

Obviously, I grew out of that. In fact, when re-reading, I had to stop myself time and again, and just ruminate on the steady suspense being built within the narrative. I didn't catch it so much as a kid... I was more focused on the utopian side of things, than the slow erosion of the facade of comfort and contentment built up in the community. On first reading, I was focused on the composition of the setting, the rules, the construction of the plot; on second reading, the sinister undercurrent running through the novel was basically hitting me in the face with every turn of the page.

If anything I'm most happy, after revisiting the novel, that I really felt like I experienced it more completely than I originally had. I got the best of both worlds: the "reader response" kind of comprehension when I was twelve, and the scholastic side of comprehension now, with eight more years of dystopian literature knowledge under my belt. It's so impressive to see not just the things Lowry was able to convey in her writing, but how the book has affected those that came after it in the YA dystopian canon, like The Hunger Games, or Divergent.

Which is funny, because my favorite look from The Giver's "Looks from Books" post, had everything to do with railing against the dystopian regularities, with colorful chaos, called "Experience." It really brought together the things I love in fashion, as a contrast to the Sameness of the Giver quartet.

No comments:

Post a Comment