3 (Sat) October 2020
An Apple for the Receiver of Memory
at the cabin
-Changchon, Seowon, Hoengsong, Gangwon, Republic of Korea-
with DJ and IZ
Newbery 100 Medals, 100 Meals (6) (see 100 NEWBERY M&Ms)
While reading the 99 books that have been awarded the annual Newbery Medal since 1922 – leading up to the 100th winner to be announced next year – I will also attempt to create one dish for every book, a dish that is directly referenced in or indirectly inspired by the events of the book. Food plays a strong role in many of the stories; not surprising as the characters in most of the books are faced with adversity of some sort, including poverty, so they’re often very hungry and thus grateful whenever they get a bite to eat – as we all should be at every meal, give us this day our daily bread. The dishes will be featured as posts on Give Me This Day.
The Giver (1994) by Lois Lowry. The book is about Jonas, a child tasked with the awesome responsibility of becoming the Community’s new Receiver of Memory, who keeps all their collected memories of good and bad, of pleasure and pain; society has relinquished memories to achieve and maintain the stability of Sameness. The memories are transferred to Jonas from the soon-to-be-retired former Receiver, who in doing so becomes the Giver.
I found the book to be extremely enjoyable during the read – couldn’t put it down, finished in a couple hours – but ultimately felt that the pay-off fell short of the build-up. Plot points quickly unravel if picked: e.g., the community elders choose Jonas presumably because he possesses certain aptitudes, such as the ability to detect color – in Sameness, everything is monochrome – even though he never tells anyone about it. Still, the book offers plenty of low-hanging fruit (literally, apples) to be picked and nibbled in middle school English class; I would loved to have studied and argued this book as a student myself.
The dystopian soullessness of The Giver universe would’ve been an ideal backdrop to use food as a metaphor for the wholesome goodness, not just the color, but the taste, smell, texture, nourishment, comfort that food provides, e.g., he receives the memory of an amazing feast, contrasting the tasteless slop that he has eaten his whole life.
[paraphrased in part]
It had happened during the recreation period, when he had been playing with Asher. Jonas had casually picked up an apple from the basket where the snacks were kept, and had thrown it to his friend. Asher had thrown it back, and they had begun a simple game of catch.
But suddenly Jonas had noticed, following the path of the apple through the air with his eyes, that the piece of fruit had – well, this part that he couldn’t adequately understand – the apple had changed. Just for an instant. It had changed in mid-air, he remembered. Then it was in his hand, and he looked at it carefully, but it was the same apple. Unchanged. The same size and shape: a perfect sphere. The same nondescript shade, about the same shade as his own tunic.
The apple was quite good. Sweet and crispy, like an actual store-bought apple, even if it looked kinda gnarly, as organic produce tends to be.
Apples are among my least favorite fruit, which I detest in general.
(See also FOODS.)
(See also PLACES.)