Recognizing The Child as A Hero: A Journey of Agency and Transformation in Lois Lowry’s The Giver

Document Type : Original Article


      This study investigates young adult and children’s literature through examining Lois Lowry’s dystopian science fiction novel, The Giver, to explore the transformational journey of the protagonist, Jonas. Following Joseph Campbell’s “The Hero’s Journey,” Jonas evolves from an ordinary child to the Receiver of Memory in a seemingly utopian yet technologically advanced society. The central concept is the child as a hero archetype, where Jonas, despite his youth, displays immense bravery and determination in questioning authority figures and seeking truth. The study raises concerns about young individuals’ agency in controlling their destinies amid significant obstacles. The research also explores Jonas’s psychological development, drawing inspiration from Carl Jung’s individuation process, whereas Jonas’ internal conflict reflects the process, characterized by integrating elements of the Self. The study aims at answering the following questions: How does Jonas, as a juvenile hero, navigates challenges in his transformative journey? In what ways is the hero archetype employed to shape Jonas’ identity as a saviour? To what extent does Jonas’ internal conflict align with Carl Jung’s individuation process? How does the integration of the hero’s journey and individuation process empower young readers to recognize their potential for change? The study concludes that this narrative structure empowers young readers, allowing them to recognize their potential as agents of change and heroes in their own destinies