In The Giver, Lois Lowry uses the theme of isolation to demonstrate that, when one is isolated from emotions, freedom, and knowledge, man will always have a need for freedom over isolation. Two of the characters that best exemplify this are the Giver, and Jonas. Jonas starts out his training with the Giver content with the life that he has that includes no emotions, true knowledge and freedom, but later becomes discontent with the lack of freedom and the amount of isolation in the community. The Giver has had his job for a long time now, and has been discontent with the community that they live in for as long as he has been the Receiver. By having Jonas, who was content with what he had until he saw he could have more come into the light of the real term of freedom, and by having the Giver, who has longed for freedom, has been isolated, and is the only person other than Jonas now in the community that knows how isolated they are, Lowry expresses that man ultimately has the need for freedom, and will overall do what it takes to stay out of the binding chains of isolation.
Lois Lowry first uses the theme of isolation to show that at the core of every man’s heart, they are curious and must have freedom over isolation. Lowry first represents this when Jonas sees a plane for the first time. She wrote this, “Squinting toward the sky, he had seen the sleek jet, almost a blur at its high speed, go past, and second later heard the blast of sound that followed. Then, one more time, a moment later, from the opposite direction, the same plane”(1.1). Lowry also represents this in The Giver when the Giver says, “ So there will be a part of your life that you will never be able to share with your family. It’s hard Jonas. It was hard for me”(13.129). The Giver is telling Jonas that there will be always be a part of him now that he won’t be able to share with his family. He is showing Jonas that he will forever be isolated from society and a normal life from now on, and that could never change as long as he was in the community. When Jonas realizes this, he starts to see how everything is different and isolated in a way. He sees his father kill a baby, and not care because his father has no emotions, his friends played war games, but they hadn’t seen real war, Jonas had. He started to see how in a way, his whole life was planned out for him, it was confined and isolated. It had no room for freedom or real happiness and joy. When he saw a family celebrating Christmas together in a memory, afterwards he said this, “ Well, Jonas said, looking at the floor, I know you don’t have the memory anymore, because you gave it to me, so maybe you won’t understand this---.... I liked the feeling of love, I wish we still had that….. Still, he said slowly, almost to himself, I did like the light they made. And the warmth”(16.157-159). Because Jonas begins to realize what life in the community is missing, Lowry implies that, when one sees the other options that they have, they will never go back to just knowing one, or being satisfied with what they had in the beginning.
Secondly, Lowry uses the theme of isolation to show the reader that if one is kept from freedom of emotions, and knowledge, there is a void that cannot be filled with isolation and order. Lowry shows this theme mainly through the Giver. Lowry once again represents this in The Giver when the Giver says, “ So there will be a whole part of your life that you won’t be able to share with a family. It’s hard Jonas. It was hard for me”(13.129). The Giver has this sadness that most of the time, overtakes him. He shows Jonas that by being the Receiver, it comes with honor, but with pain. This was shown when the Giver and Jonas were speaking one day, “It was chaos, he said. They really suffered for a while. Finally, it subsided and as the memories assimilated. But it certainly made them aware how the needed a Receiver to contain all of that pain. And knowledge. But you have to suffer like that all of the time, Jonas pointed out. The Giver nodded. And you will. It’s my life. It will be yours” (13.131). He tells Jonas of how when one Receiver failed, all of her pain went to the community and they had to handle it, but then, they gradually left the community, and everything went back to normal. Jonas then points out how the Giver has been always in that pain, but he will have to be in that pain too. That shows Jonas that no matter what, he will always be in pain, and that with that pain comes loneliness and grief, along with a void that can never be filled by those in the community. That void can only be filled by those who loved him and by freedom. It could not be filled by order and isolation. Through the Giver, Lois Lowry points out that with all things orderly and isolated, one will never have true happiness, and will always have a void in their heart in need of filling.
Lastly, Lowry uses the theme of isolation to invoke in the reader a desire and need for freedom over isolation and controlled lifestyles. Lowry represents this through the way that the community is shown in the book. The community controlled everything. No snow, sunshine, or rain. “ But what happened to those things? Snow, and the rest of it? Climate control. Snow made growing food difficult, limited agriculture periods. And the unpredictable weather made transportation almost impossible at times. It wasn’t a practical thing, so it became obsolete when we went to Sameness….Jonas frowned. I wish we had those things, still. Just now and then”(11.106). The Giver tells Jonas of how Sameness controls everything and makes it constantly the same, gray, boring place. No one can be different from their neighbor. Every family has four kids, and many other restrictions that the community has placed on things. The community was all the same. Jonas began to realize that and started to wonder about Elsewhere, the place that lay beyond the community. “He wondered what lay in the far distance where he had never gone. The land didn’t end beyond these nearby communities. Were there hills Elsewhere? Were there vast wind-torn areas like the place he had seen in memory, the place where the elephant died?” (13.134).
While the themes of security, isolation and safety are appealing to the human mind, the human heart will always desire and must have freedom over one's life and lifestyle. In the end, the humans want and desire will turn into an action and win out in the end. Lowry thought that this was important to tell minds of all ages that humans will always desire and have a need for freedom over isolation, and that even if someone or something tries to make everything the same, one will always see the difference and overcome isolation.