This month has been absolutely crazy! From taking a college roadtrip to Nebraska for a buddy’s wedding, to visiting friends and family in Maryland, I have been travelling like crazy. During my travels, and in my down time this summer I’ve been reading several different types of books. One in particular has helped me do a lot of thinking about the discipline of history. Have any of you ever read The Giver?
Apparenlty most kids read this book in elementary school, so once I saw it was going to be a movie, I decided just to give it a read, and I have found that really it would be an excellent intro book for any high school history class or any class on historical method.
Long story short, there is a man who contains all the knowledge of society’s history, and they train a new person to hold all the memories of society. The interesting part is that as “The Giver” gives knowledge to “The Receiver” they forget the memory that they have just given away, except for a faint idea that they remember holding a memory. This person is revered by society and called upon on occassion to give advice to the society, and also keeps the people safe from having to bare the burden of the sadness that has occurred in the past.
As a history major at Messiah College, I have been told on many occassions that historians are essentially the vanguards of the past. They help interpret the past for the others, and they use this knowledge to provide a voice to the past and even on occassion can be called upon to use that advice to make an informed opinioned on something current.
This book also places an overarching emphasis on the importance of the past, and history’s potential role in shaping the future. In a day and age where people don’t see a practical application to the study of history, I would encourage them to read this book. It is only like 200 pages, so read it up and see a good perspective on the past.