LOIS LOWRY The Importance of Human Connections
Meeting Lowry… (Click here for a video interview) 2
Early literature impressions… 3 • From a young age, Lowry enjoyed literature and entertainment… • On the next slide is the poem she memorized as a young girl • *It moves quickly, but take notice of the length:
THANATOPSISby: William Cullen Bryant (1794-1878) 4 That make the meadows green; and, pour'd round all, Old Ocean's grey and melancholy waste,-- Are but the solemn decorations all Of the great tomb of man. The golden sun, The planets, all the infinite host of heaven, Are shining on the sad abodes of death, Through the still lapse of ages. All that tread The globe are but a handful to the tribes That slumber in its bosom.--Take the wings Of morning, pierce the Barcan wilderness, Or lose thyself in the continuous woods Where rolls the Oregon and hears no sound Save his own dashings--yet the dead are there: And millions in those solitudes, since first The flight of years began, have laid them down In their last sleep--the dead reign there alone. So shalt thou rest: and what if thou withdraw In silence from the living, and no friend Take note of thy departure? All that breathe Will share thy destiny. The gay will laugh When thou art gone, the solemn brood of care Plod on, and each one as before will chase His favourite phantom; yet all these shall leave Their mirth and their employments, and shall come And make their bed with thee. As the long train Of ages glides away, the sons of men, The youth in life's green spring, and he who goes In the full strength of years, matron and maid, The speechless babe, and the gray-headed man-- And, lost each human trace, surrendering up Thine individual being, shalt thou go To mix for ever with the elements, To be a brother to the insensible rock, And to the sluggish clod, which the rude swain Turns with his share, and treads upon. The oak Shall send his roots abroad, and pierce thy mould. Yet not to thine eternal resting-place Shalt thou retire alone, nor couldst thou wish Couch more magnificent. Thou shalt lie down With patriarchs of the infant world--with kings, The powerful of the earth--the wise, the good, Fair forms, and hoary seers of ages past, All in one mighty sepulchre. The hills Rock-ribb'd and ancient as the sun,--the vales Stretching in pensive quietness between; The venerable woods; rivers that move In majesty, and the complaining brooks Shall one by one be gathered to thy side By those who in their turn shall follow them. So live, that when thy summons comes to join The innumerable caravan which moves To that mysterious realm where each shall take His chamber in the silent halls of death, Thou go not, like the quarry-slave at night, Scourged by his dungeon; but, sustain'd and soothed By an unfaltering trust, approach thy grave, Like one who wraps the drapery of his couch About him, and lies down to pleasant dreams. To him who in the love of Nature holds Communion with her visible forms, she speaks A various language; for his gayer hours She has a voice of gladness, and a smile And eloquence of beauty, and she glides Into his darker musings, with a mild And healing sympathy, that steals away Their sharpness, ere he is aware. When thoughts Of the last bitter hour come like a blight Over thy spirit, and sad images Of the stern agony, and shroud, and pall, And breathless darkness, and the narrow house, Make thee to shudder and grow sick at heart;-- Go forth, under the open sky, and list To Nature's teachings, while from all around-- Earth and her waters, and the depths of air-- Comes a still voice--Yet a few days, and thee The all-beholding sun shall see no more In all his course; nor yet in the cold ground, Where thy pale form was laid with many tears, Nor in the embrace of ocean, shall exist Thy image. Earth, that nourish'd thee, shall claim Thy growth, to be resolved to earth again,
Biographical Information 5 • Lois Lowry was born 1937, • She was a child in a military family, born in Territory of Hawaii. She then moved with her family to Pennsylvania, Tokyo, and New York. • She originally intended to write for adults, but was convinced by her editor to pursue adolescent novels. • Lowry never wanted to “teach” children, she just happens to connect with young adult audiences.
Inspirations for Work Lowry has explored many human connections in her writing. She uses personal experiences as well as historical events for inspiration: • Her own loss of a sibling in A Summer to Die, • Adolescent struggles for the Anastasia Krupnik series, • Holocaust experience for Number the Stars, and • Societal Discord inspired The Giver. 6
A Summer to Die: 7 • Deals with themes of loss, sibling differences, ect. • “Roman a clef” of Lowry’s younger life. • Captures the duality of personalities within a family and life vs. death • “A Summer to Die, my first book, was a highly fictionalized retelling of the early death of mysister, and of the effect of such a loss on a family.”
Anastasia Series: 8 • Lowry has published many books chronicling the life & times of her character Anastasia Krupnik, they include: • Anastasia Krupnik • Anastasia Again! • Anastasia at Your Service • Anastasia, Ask Your Analyst • Anastasia on Her Own • Anastasia has the Answers • Anastasia’s Chosen Career • Anastasia at this Address • Anastasia Absolutely
Holocaust Review: 9 • During the 1930s, two-thirds of Europe’s Jewish population was slaughtered which calculates to one-third of the world population of Jews. • In addition, the Nazi’s genocide exterminated millions of: http://www.holocaust-history.org/
Holocaust Review: 10 • There were over 1.5 million children exterminated during the Holocaust. • Over 5 million Non-Jewish Victims were exterminated by the Nazis during the Holocaust. 3 million of those victims were Poles and Catholics. • Imagine the potential of those lives... Imagine how many might have been another Albert Einstein, a Sigmund Freud… http://www.holocaust-history.org/
Poetic Perspective… 11 First they came for the Jews and I did not speak out — because I was not a Jew. Then they came for the communists and I did not speak out — because I was not a communist. Then they came for the trade unionists and I did not speak out — because I was not a trade unionist. Then they came for me — and by then there was no one left to speak out for me. Rev. Martin Niemoller
Number the Stars… 12 • Number the Stars tells the tale of Annemarie Johansen, a young girl living in Denmark during World War II. The book opens in 1943, three years after German soldiers first arrived to occupy the small country. • Number the Stars, set in a different culture and era, tells the same story: that of the role we humans play in the lives of our fellow beings.
Social Unrest from 1960s-1990s 13 • What can you, as a class, explain about the: • Changes in values • Household construction • Major movements of the 1960s-1970s?
Another perspective on Utopian Living… 14 Not in Utopia -- subterranean fields,-- Or some secreted island, Heaven knows where! But in the very world, which is the world Of all of us, -- the place where in the end We find our happiness, or not at all • William Wordsworth
The Giver… 15 • Themes: coming of age story, uniqueness,utopia vs. dystopia, unity vs. individuality • Relevance to YA readers“The Giver (and Gathering Blue, and the newest in the trilogy: Messenger) take place against the background of very different cultures and times. Though all three are broader in scope than my earlier books, they nonetheless speak to the same concern: the vital need of people to be aware of their interdependence, not only with each other, but with the world and its environment.”
Lowry on Lowry: 16 • “My books have varied in content and style. Yet it seems that all of them deal, essentially, with the same general theme: the importance of human connections.”
“Challenged Books” 18 • The Giver is one of the most popular books on the “challenged list” of the American Library Association. • Why do you think this is?
Writing Tips from Lowry… 19 • Write about personal events, experiences that have shaped you • Create your own situations, characters, etc. • Read! • Write letters (“old fashioned ones”)
Directions for Daily Writing Assignment: 20 • Pick a personal experience or historical event to focus on for this writing • Begin your narrative as if you are writing a letter to a friend or grandparent • Turn in your work (no less than1 ½ pages) at the end of the hour.