As a shy, introverted, scholarly child (long ago) I don't know what I would have done without libraries! My family moved often. I was always the new kid in town. The library always offered me my first and most important friendship: the place where I felt right at home. I still feel that way today, about libraries.
Lily appeared, wearing her nightclothes, in the doorway. She gave an impatient sigh. 'This is certainly a very LONG private conversation, ' she said. 'And there are certain people waiting for their comfort object.' Lily, ' her mother said fondly, 'you're very close to being an Eight, and when you're an Eight, your comfort object will be taken away. It will be recycled to the younger children. You should be starting to go off to sleep without it.' But her father had already gone to the shelf and taken down the stuffed elephant which was kept there. Many of the comfort objects, like Lily's, were soft, stuffed, imaginary creatures. Jonas's had been called a bear. Here you are, Lily-billy, ' he said. 'I'll come help you remove your hair ribbons.
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Time goes on, and your life is still there, and you have to live it. After a while you remember the good things more often than the bad. Then, gradually, the empty silent parts of you fill up with sounds of talking and laughter again, and the jagged edges of sadness are softened by memories.
and I want you all to remember-that you must not dream yourselves back to the times before the war, but the dream for you all, young and old, must be to create an ideal of human decency, and not a narrow-minded and prejudiced one. That is the great gift our country hungers for, something every little peasant boy can look forward to, and with pleasure feel he is a part of-something he can work and fight for." Surely that gift-the gift of a world of human decency-is the one that all countries hunger for still. I hope that this story of Denmark, and its people, will remind us all that such a world is possible.
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Finally he steeled himself to read the final rule again. He had been trained since earliest childhood, since his earliest learning of language, never to lie. It was an integral part of the learning of precise speech. Once, when he had been a Four, he had said, just prior to the midday meal at school, 'I'm starving.' Immediately he had been taken aside for a brief private lesson in language precision. He was not starving, it was pointed out. He was hungry. No one in the community was starving, had ever been starving, would ever be starving. To say 'starving' was to speak a lie. An unintentioned lie, of course. But the reason for precision of language was to ensure that unintentional lies were never uttered. Did he understand that? they asked him. And he had.
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A stage adaptation of The Giver has been performed in cities and towns across the USA for years. More recently an opera has been composed and performed. And soon there will be a film. Does The Giver have the same effect when it is presented in a different way: It's hard to know. A book, to me is almost sacrosanct: such an individual and private thing. The reader brings his or her own history and beliefs and concerns, and reads in solitude, creating each scene from his own imagination as he does. There is no fellow ticket-holder in the next seat. The important thing is that another medium-stage, film, music-doesn't obliterate a book. The movie is here now, on a big screen, with stars and costumes and a score. But the book hasn't gone away. It has simply grown up, grown larger, and begun to glisten in a new way.
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Things could change, Gabe, " Jonas went on. "Things could be different. I don't know how, but there must be some way for things to be different. There could be colors. And grandparents, " he added, staring through the dimness toward the ceiling of his sleepingroom. "And everybody would have the memories." "You know the memories, " he whispered, turning toward the crib. Garbriel's breathing was even and deep. Jonas liked having him there, though he felt guilty about the secret. Each night he gave memories to Gabriel: memories of boat rides and picnics in the sun; memories of soft rainfall against windowpanes; memories of dancing barefoot on a damp lawn. "Gabe?" The newchild stirred slightly in his sleep. Jonas looked over at him. "There could be love, " Jonas whispered.
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He remembered that in the art books he had leafed through at Leader's, many paintings depicted death. A severed head on a platter. A battle, and the ground strewn with bodies. Swords and spears and fire; and nails being pounded into the tender flesh of a man's hands. Painters had preserved such pain through beauty.
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Now he saw another elephant emerge from the place where it had stood hidden in the trees. Very slowly it walked to the mutilated body and looked down. With its sinuous trunk it struck the huge corpse; then it reached up, broke some leafy branches with a snap, and draped them over the mass of torn thick flesh. Finally it tilted its massive head, raised its trunk, and roared into the empty landscape.
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