“For all the children to whom we entrust the future.”

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Name:_________________________________________________ Date:__________________
The Giver Research Project
Lois Lowry dedicates The Giver “For all the children to whom we entrust the future.” In a past interview, when asked why she chose to address the uncomfortable issues of euthanasia, controlled population, dictatorship and totalitarianism control, genetic engineering and laboratory births, restricted individuality, disconnected families, and the truths behind decisions made in history, Lowry replied, “I think fiction, in order to say anything, has to startle and upset you at some point. To be a book that affects you, it has to make you think.”
You are a child to whom the future is entrusted.

Essential Question: Which topic in Lois Lowry’s Utopian (Dystopian) Novel The Giver has MOST “startled or upset you at some point” or has REALLY made you QUESTION THE TRUTH AND CONSEQUENCES of this concept in our own society and the possible impact this concept may have your generation’s future and the future of your descendents?
Goal of Research:

  1. First, select at least 3 real life social, economic, scientific, or technological issues related to one of the novel's prominent themes that startle, upset, or make you think about current or future real life implications.

  1. Highlight the three topics that most interest you.

  1. Write these 3 topics on your Honor Code sheet and have your parents sign the Honor Code for homework tonight. The signed Honor Code is due Wednesday.

  1. After I approve of all topic selections, you will receive a confirmation of your topic.

  1. By utilizing the Research Process and RELIABLE INTERNET SOURCES, EXPLORE how this concept

    1. has the power to improve conditions in our world AND

    2. how it may have the capacity to cause harm or negative consequences.

  1. Draw your own conclusions after exploring the facts associated with the topic.

  1. Connect what you learn to important ideas and themes within The Giver.

  1. Create a multimedia presentation to showcase your research and to use a presentation tool.

Note: These are BROAD topics. You must ask an Overarching Essential Question to narrow research, and within that question, you must fully explore at least 3 connected areas.

  • Fully examine important background details, causes/effects, real life examples, pros, cons, dangers, benefits, etc. of this concept.

  • Use the Research Grid for planning all aspects of your research, including your Overarching Essential Question.


Possible Research Topics for The Giver Research Project

Real Life/Fabled/Literary/Movie Depicted Utopian or Cult Societies—Characteristics/Philosophies

  • Real Life Utopian Communities:

  • Historical: The Shakers, The Fruitlands, etc..

  • Current: Amish, Mennonites, Mormans, etc.

  • Tragic: The Branch Davidians, The Jonestown Experiment, etc.

  • History of American Colonization—Quest for Utopia in the New World (Explore reasons, hopes, plans of the English for colonizing North America.)

  • Fables/Legends: Atlantis, El Dorado

  • Literary: Thomas More’s Utopia, Orwell’s 1984, Plato’s Republic, Huxley’s Brave New World, Modern Utopian Novels (See List)

  • Utopias Depicted in Movies: The Island, Pleasantville, The Truman Show, Matrix, V for Vendetta, GATTACA, The Thirteenth Floor, etc.(with parental permission for PG13 and R rated movies)

Controlling Governments—Compared to Democracy

  • Totalitarianism

  • Dictatorships

    • Hitler/Stalin/Mussolini/Hussein/Gbagbo/Gdafi, etc.

  • Communism/Socialism

Man in Control of Life/Death (Value of Life)

  • Euthanasia (Represent Various Views)

  • Genocide (Mongol Invasion of Europe in 13th Century, Holocaust, Darfur, Sudan, etc.)

  • Ethnic Cleansing (Jews throughout history, Bosnia/Croatia/Serbia, Rwanda, Ivory Coast, Trail of Tears in United States in 1830s, etc.)

Science/Technology: Man Playing “Creator”

  • Designer Babies

  • In Vitro Fertilization/Controlled Births

  • Master Race (Hitler)

  • Reproductive Cloning

  • Population Control (Historical/Present/Future Fears)

Science/Technology: Modern Discoveries

  • Color Blindness/Color Perception

  • Climate Control

  • Genetic Research (Advancements, Using to Heal/Improve Lives)

  • Human Genome Project

  • Stem Cell Research/Therapeutic Cloning

  • Color Symbolism

  • Brain Research: Color/Emotions

  • Mind Control/Subliminal Messaging/”Brainwashing”

  • Brain Research: Memory/Emotions

  • Brain Research: Dreams

  • Medical Research: Drugs that Control Emotions and Pain

  • Loss of Memory: Alzheimer’s Syndrome

  • Surveillance and Tracking Technology (cameras, GPS, tracking chips in cell phones, cell/phone “taps” or “bugging”, etc.)


  • Diversity/Conformity/Sameness

  • Individual’s Need for Freedom

  • United States Democratic Freedoms (Bill of Rights: Freedom of Speech, Right to Bear Arms, Right to a Trial by Jury, etc.)

History: Periods of Severe Control/Oppression

  • The Holocaust/Slavery

  • Racism/Discrimination

  • Book Burnings/Information Censorship

  • Unequal Educational and Employment Opportunities (Race, Sex, Economic Status, Age, Economic Situation, etc.)

  • Discrimination Regarding the Right To Vote (Race, Sex, Age, Education, etc.)


  • Trends/Customs/Cultural Expectations in Relationships—husbands/wives, parents, children, grandparents (extended family)

  • Adoption vs. Biological Parenting

Author Connection

  • Lois Lowry Autobiography/Newberry Acceptance Speech for The Giver/Influences for Novel

  • Censorship/Banned Books (including The Giver and other Utopian novels)

Current Events/Concerns

  • Federal Privacy Act/Law

  • Is it Legal and Who Does It?: Using Technology for Surveillance, Monitoring (Wire-Tapping, Hidden Cameras, Eavesdropping, etc.)

  • Euphemisms (“Cover-up Language” and “Politically Correct” Terms )to Control Perceptions (Past and Present)

The Perfect World

  • Government/Education/Wealth/Health/Family/Childcare/Marriage/Environment, etc.

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