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Fridge / The Giver

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Fridge Brilliance

  • A meta-example for the movie. The previews for the movie show several pivotal differences from the book that the writers and director could have easily worked around, such as having the 'sameness' being instilled by mandatory daily injections and aging the characters up to what would appear to be their later teens. This actually makes sense when you remember that this book is more often than not read for school. The changes to the story were intentionally put there to make sure no kids would be able to cheat using the movie.
    • Interesting, but unlikely. Many recent movie adaptations of books make significant changes, often for no apparent reason; it's so absurdly common in fact that there's an entire trope section dedicated to all the ways in which this happens. However, despite the fact that this isn't the intent, you'll be pleased to hear that many teachers have learned how to take advantage of these inconsistencies to make sure students are actually reading the book.

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  • Fridge-Heartwarming: In the movies, one of the memories Jonas experiences is being a father tearfully holding his newly born child. This is parallel to the book where Jonas experienced the memory of being singled out for a birthday party: a feeling of being special and proud.

  • The Community's insistence that Birthmother is a laid-back job with "little honor" comes off as fairly ridiculous to anyone familiar with how painful and inconveniencing it feels to carry a child for 9 months and then give birth... especially considering that Birthmothers will experience neither the joys of sex nor motherhood that normally makes all that hardship worthwhile. However, this is indirectly explained later when it is revealed that The Community members have such effective medications that true pain is a foreign concept to them. Pregnancy really would be a breeze if you had the option of getting drugged up on fancy future pain medication the entire time.
    • Lowry addressed this a bit more in Son, the last of three sequels to The Giver; it's a different type of Fridge Brilliance. Pregnancy and childbirth (especially the latter) are still difficult and painful, but the entire process is kept isolated from the community at large. Only a specific subset of the community is involved in any way with the birthing process, and they're presumably under orders not to talk about it to anyone else. The Community at large literally doesn't know that pregnancy and childbirth are hard. They see girls sitting around not being required to "work" as they understand the term, and they don't have the empathy or curiosity to look farther.

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  • One for the series as a whole. In Son, Claire's attitude towards Gabriel is a little bit weird given her background: she immediately thinks of Gabriel as her son, even though she's never been exposed to that concept (that children are the sons or daughters of the woman who birthed them), and she also uses words like "boy" and "baby" that aren't in the community's vocabulary. Then I realized: there was one time in her life when Claire was potentially was exposed to those things. According to the series timeline, Claire would have been about five when Rosemary was Released. And one of Rosemary's memories was of a child separated from its parents. We're never told exactly how the issue of Rosemary's memories was handled; if Claire still retained some shadow or fragment of them, even if she wasn't conscious of it, the birth and what happened after could have subtly triggered those fragments, enough for those words and concepts to slip into her thought process.

Fridge Horror

  • "Released to Elsewhere", a trope that this book named, usually describes a mandatory euphemism for "death". In The Giver, though, we're left with the impression that the Givers and Receivers are solely responsible for carrying all of society's repressed knowledge of pain and death, and we never see anything suggesting that anyone (even the Elders) is aware that "release" is "death". It's possible, then, that the Community's leaders don't use the term euphemistically, but simply because they just don't know any better.
    • The movie, when the memories are returned, makes this much clearer: Jonas' father had no idea what he was doing was wrong until the memories returned, and didn't take it well.
    • It's not quite as clear, but the Giver explains it a bit in the book. They understand, on some level, that they are ending a life, but because of the removal of memories, they don't have a concept of death as we know it. They're unable to grasp the moral implications of what they're doing, nor do they have the emotional capacity to perceive the end of a life as tragic.
    • The Release of the pilot in the first pages, means that a boy around 12-14 is being killed simply because he misread his navigational instructions and flew over the community.

  • At one point, Jonas receives a memory of poachers in Africa killing an elephant for its ivory, and he is baffled by the sight of men with dark skin. In his narration, he briefly says that the Giver told him that people once had different skin colors, implying that filtering out those of different races was an essential part of Sameness. Lowry is vague about how it happened, but let's be honest: when the government wants to get rid of "undesirable" races in Real Life, it's never pretty. Forced sterilization? Mass exile? Full-on ethnic cleansing? Any way you slice it, the people who started Sameness probably have some serious atrocities to answer for.
    • Probably the same way Fiona has red hair, they are just unhappy about it but hey color is gone and facial features will change with the birth regulation. Sameness did not came out of tyranny but necessity in the book.
    • The methods by which sameness was achieved may not necessarily have been as horrific as sterilization and ethnic cleansing. It is mentioned that there are other communities, so potentially they only use a form of segregation in which people of different races have their own sets of communities. Each group has its own Receiver, and does not communicate with any other communities. So the establishment of sameness may have involved some pretty strong racism, but without mass killings and sterilizations.
      • Though this also raises the question of what happened to people of mixed ethnic backgrounds. If there's a Community for every major ethnic group, what did the government do with people who couldn't fit into a single Community?
      • Good point. Maybe they put them with whichever ethnic group they looked closest to.
      • Considering how they treat twins and the disabled, it is most likely people of mixed heritage, especially ambiguous looking people, would be killed.
      • I always thought that it was just supposed to be far enough into the future that everyone was mixed, meaning there were no longer distinct races. (Seems to be averted by the film, though)
    • All reproduction in the Community is genetically selected and controlled. If Sameness demands the elimination of all ethnic traits that don't conform to a specified phenotype, there's no need to actually kill the already-living to achieve that: just don't produce any babies that exhibit those non-conforming traits, and the folks whose faces "don't fit" will be gone in a single generation. Yes, they'd notice that any babies assigned to their households have a different hue of skin than themselves, but if they've been taking the emotion-deadening drugs while awaiting their new infant they wouldn't be able to get upset about it.

  • While racial difference can be waved away with segregation, what about religions? People don't typically just give up their religions when you ask them to, and many of them would've had to be killed to give it up. Entire families. It would take a lot of atrocities to snuff out any and all traces of every religion in the world.
    • A few near apocalypses can break your faith same thing for different racial group, remember that the sameness was brought because people were that desperate, chances are there is 300 people left in the world before the sameness was even considered.
    • Also, Gathering Blue implies that people (at least in that village) have no idea what a cross actually means. So if The Ruin is meant to be an apocalypse of some sort, it's possible that it killed off enough people that there just weren't enough of them to keep any particular religion going.
    • Or on a less horrific note, maybe there are different communities for different religions, too? And Jonas's community just happened to be one that decided to operate on a non-religious basis.
    • Or Sameness was the religion/philosophy/creed that rose to supplant the old faiths in the wake of catastrophe. The earliest of Communities probably had to have been pretty cult-like in their atmosphere, to have established such stringent control over every aspect of their citizens' lives, so the first generation to live in them may have been Sameness-fanatics. Then as the emotion-deadening drugs were refined and perfected, passion of conviction gave way to numbed, brainwashed placidity, and it was no longer necessary to worship the Sameness concept for everyone to perpetuate it.

  • When the memories return at the end of the book, people are going to be severely depressed and angry, maybe even suicidal or homicidal, when they realize the significance of what they've participated in. This includes Jonas's father (with the releases), Jonas's mother (probably ordered people to be released as part of her justice job, and probably sometimes for small transgressions since it's third strike you're out), Fiona (released old people), and even Asher (for organizing games that mimicked war.) Plus think of all the people who will suddenly realize what happened to their family members and friends who didn't measure up in some way, or to that person they told on for stealing glue or staying out late or something.
    • Well... that's exactly why the Giver stayed behind at the end. Presumably, the reasoning behind him thinking he could help them deal with the memories is because he knew about even worse things, so he'd be able to help them adjust more gradually. On the other hand, there was apparently chaos when Rosemary was released, when she'd been given mostly good memories, so it's still going to take a lot longer than Jonas and the Giver thought it would.
    • It's horrifying to realize that Jonas' father (who clearly loves working with children) and Fiona (who is described as being very good with the elderly) will have to face what they've done.

Fridge Logic

  • How can people in the Community become airplane pilots if everyone in the Community note  is completely colorblind?
    • Can someone explain to me why this is a problem? Not trying to be a smartass here, I genuinely don't know what the problem with color blind pilots would be.
      • Colorblind people are barred from becoming pilots in most government-run organizations note  because most safety signals in aviation (runway markings, signal lights, aircraft markings, etc.) are based around color-coded lights and signs. Presumably, color-blindness can also make it harder to distinguish distance and color boundaries, which can be hazardous when flying.
    • Then why are they allowed to get driver's licenses? Cause there are fewer markings/signs/lights or did the color blind person I know lie to get his driver's license?
      • You can still read traffic lights by looking at the position of the light (green on the bottom, yellow in the middle, red on the top) and most road signs have easily recognizable shapes and symbols that you can still read if you can't see color. Color is a lot more important with air traffic signs, though, since they have to be read from much farther away. And, y'know...whether or not someone can theoretically operate a vehicle if they have to, they tend to be a lot stricter with handing out licenses when said vehicle is a 50 foot-long flying machine that can kill hundreds of people if it crashes.
      • Bigger signs. Duh.
    • In a society where everybody is colorblind, they probably wouldn't use color-coded signals in the first place.
    • It is suggested on the Headscratchers page that maybe those assigned to be Pilots are given color vision and they are also given the rule that they are allowed to lie in their folder.
    • First, the Community itself is an enclosed totalitarian state. All pilots for a specific Community would only be flying within sanctioned locations, approved by the Council of Elders. Any signals delivered to a pilot currently flying would most likely only be assigned to that pilot, and so could be visual or auditory. Second, while the Community might be colorblind, this doesn't exclude gray-scale or patterned visual stimuli. This is even more poignant when it's realized that a society built around the lack of a color-scale would have worked to make whatever visual stimuli it still required not require colors to be effective.
    • Another aspect to consider is that modern society has more than enough candidates for flight training, and can be choosy. The birthrate in the Community is strictly regulated, so any pilot has to come from that population. To add on the point above, the pilots are not allowed to fly beyond the border of the Community. Any danger or obstacle to a drone has been removed long before now, so really the pilots are now just flying routes that have been flown for who knows how long. You don't need color vision to confirm what has been seen literally thousands of times.
    • They state in the book that the pilots are using heat sensors to look for Jonas and Gabe when they escape (Jonas thwarts this by summoning memories of cold to lower their body temperatures). My guess would be that pilots use this heat sensor technology or something similar whenever they fly.

  • Since sex is never directly mentioned or acknowledged when discussing the Birthmothers, it's generally assumed that they're impregnated by anonymous sperm donors. But how can anyone donate sperm if none of the men have any sex drive?
    • I almost hate suggesting this, but: cattle prod to the anus. Well, someone did it in Law & Order: Special Victims Unit to get sperm!
    • Don't laugh. It's done clinically to permit men with lower-body paralysis to father children, albeit with far less brutal implements than a cattle prod to electrically trigger the essential reflexes.

  • Something This troper picked out about the Birthmothers that I'm not sure if it's Fridge Horror or not: In the Community, you get your job at age 12. You have a short training period and then can give birth for three years before you are sent to do hard labor for the rest of your working life. Girls as young as thirteen giving birth.
    • Not really. Girls become sexually active around then, and are therefore physically able to give birth. Furthermore, marriage usually happened at 12-14 for girls and 13-15 for boys around the time of the Roman Empire, and was like that in some Greek city-states as well.
      • I say it is. Just because a girl has started puberty does not mean that her body is anywhere near developed enough to healthily and comfortably carry a baby to term. The horror is compounded if one reads the novel Son, set in the same universe.
    • Given the level of maturity shown by the children (starting full-time work by the time they're 13), it could be that their aging process is accelerated in some way (or, conversely, their years are somehow longer than ours); after all, they never do say how old the adults actually are. Aging up the teens in the movie was largely a cinematic choice, but one could posit that they weren't really "aged up" so much as that a Community 12-year-old is equivalent to a modern 15 or 16-year-old. It still means girls are giving birth young, but not quite as horrifically young (at least in terms of physical development) as the numbers would suggest.

  • Well, while we're still on the topic of birth, there's one thing that's been puzzling me ever since my 8th grade class finished reading it: In the book, it mentions that only the elderly and newborns can be looked at when they don't have any clothes on. So how do the doctors get the newborns out? Do they just take peeps? Are they deliberately blinded and feeling for the baby (and wouldn't that bring up "Stirrings?")? Or is it that they have the birthmother push the baby all the way out, cover herself, and then come to take a look at the baby(ies)?
    • Only the elderly and newborns can be looked at naked by the average Community member. Job-based exceptions to rules are stated to exist: Jonas is exempted from rules about lying and rudeness, and Son says that the Birthmothers are taken off the "Stirrings" pills (presumably because the mechanism would interfere with the pregnancy in some way). Along the same lines, doctors would be exempt from rules about nudity because such an exemption is necessary to do their jobs.


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