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Valladares 1

Naomi Valladares
English 113B
Professor Spitler-Lawson
25 April 2016
First Draft Project Text
1647
Are You My Family?
When a Family passes by what do you see? Is it mother and father with their perfect son
and daughter? In the book The Giver by Lois Lowry that’s the only type of family there is, but in
our society a family isn’t that normal or perfect. When it comes to families in The Giver structure
is the most important thing in a family but in our society love is what makes a family. A family
with parents that love each other along with having endless love for their children. Structure is a
great way to form a family but love is what creates it and keeps it together.
The definition of a family is a mother and father with their children, but in today’s society
most people don’t grow up with that kind of family. There are countless same sex partners,
children created by donated genetic material, adoptive and birth parents in their child’s life, along
with step or half siblings under the same household (Shanley). Are the people that live in these
conditions not considered a family? All because the structure of just one mother and one father
and their children isn’t there? No, these are just different types of families compared to a nuclear
family, such as the ones shown in The Giver.
In any family there has to be parents, whether it’s a single mother or father, parents of the
same sex, or both a mother and father, and etc., but either way children have someone there to
love and nurture them. Although there are different kinds of parents the one thing that doesn’t

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change are the emotions they have such as their love for each other which leads them to wanting
a child. Choosing someone to love is a wonderful privilege. In The Giver adults have to apply “to
receive a spouse” this process can make someone wait for “months or even years before a match
was approved and announced” (Lowry). Kind of like online dating and an arranged marriage all
in one. In The Giver if adults aren’t able to choose who they want to be with but if they were
“‘allowed to choose their own mate, and chose wrong’” it would be “‘Very frightening’”
(Lowry), it is for most people but the feelings that come when looking for the right person is
worth but that’s something they would never experience. The main reason it’s important for
parents to know what love is, is so that they can also love their children. If adults can’t feel any
emotion such as love for anyone or themselves how can they feel anything for their children?
Emotional connection is important in order for families to stay together otherwise
children might grow up with a “lack of emotional self-regulation […] and in unclear, immature,
or rigid principles and life goals” (Klever). This is why in the book The Giver parents don’t love
their children and because the generations of detached families has gave them the lack of
emotion to feel love which also made the word so “meaningless that it’s become almost
obsolete” (Lowry). A family only enjoys or has pride in their child (Lowry) but will never truly
love and care for them. In the book this lack of emotional contact in family is also why families
separate once a child becomes a full adult they get their dwelling then they can apply for a
spouse and children (Lowry). In these families there are no grandparents once the two children
grow up and leave. Once the children are gone parents move to a place with other parents
without children and stay there and work for the community until they are too old and go to the
old peoples home and get released (Lowry), once the kids grow up their parents are no longer
needed or wanted. But in regard to today’s society grandparents are some of the most important

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family members to both parents and grandchildren. “Grandparents frequently assist their children
by taking care of the grandchildren” (Thomese) which allows the grandchildren to “know more
about him/ herself and the history of family patterns” (Klever). Family such as grandparents
along with family stories is what helps shape children and understand where they come from.
That knowledge would help them throughout life to understand what they should do in some
situations and decide for themselves what is right for their life. No matter the situation even
adopted children have the right to know where they come from.
In The Giver all children are basically adopted. Very little women in The Giver are able to
experience being pregnant. Few women are assigned the job of “birthmother” and in their
lifetime they give “three births and that’s all. After that they are Laborers for the rest of their
adult lives, until the day that they enter the House of the Old” (Lowry). The saddest part about a
birthmother’s life is the fact that they give birth to three children but yet “never even get to see
new children” (Lowry). They are unable to have a family even though they have three children
out in the world. They never get to meet the baby they carried inside them for nine months.
Although to them it doesn’t matter because their lack of emotion shields them form the painful
“memory of a child taken from its parents” (Lowry). Being a birthmother shouldn’t be a job or
be considered an unimportant job, being a mother is one of the most rewarding things. Even
being a mother of an adopted child is rewarding because even though the adoptive parents were
physically unable to have a baby, they were able to receive one. Although in the real world
adoptive parents aren’t usually blood related they are still able to love the child as their own. And
that’s what matters most.
The ability to love anyone unconditionally and make them your family is amazing.
Children that have a not so nuclear family will do just fine as long as the emotional contact is

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there. Love brings a family together on matter if you are blood relates or not. The love that’s
given and received is what allows people to say another person is family. No matter the structure
of the family, love is what makes the family.

Annotated Bibliography
Families: Beyond the Nuclear Ideal. London, UK ; New York, NY: Bloomsbury, 2012.
This book explains how the ideal nuclear family has changed and how these
alternative types of relationships have changed the ways families are viewed although
they have the ideal views of a nuclear family although they are not accepted as a nuclear
family. I found this on this book on the one search through CSUN Oviatt Library. I
searched for “family” and looked through the books. It is a science ethics and society
book that has various examples of different types of families which made it trustworthy.
This book will be useful in my essay because it provides a great deal of information about
different types of families and situations in the families rather than a nuclear family
which is seen in The Giver.
Klever, Phillip. "Multigenerational Relationships and Nuclear Family Functioning." The
American Journal of Family Therapy, 43.4 (2015): 339-351.

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This article discusses how the more a nuclear family tries to connect through
emotional contact with different generations the more orderly and healthy the lives of the
generations will be. I found this on this article on the one search through CSUN Oviatt
Library. I searched for “nuclear family” and looked through the articles and found this
one. I found it to be trust worthy because it was published for The American Journal of
Family Therapy. This article will help me in my essay because it shows how emotional
contact helps a nuclear family stay together, this is something that doesn’t happen in The
Giver. Although The Giver is the perfect example of a nuclear family that works in the
book, the family doesn’t stay together; they all move on and forget about once being a
family and once having a mother, father, sister, or brother.
Lowry, Lois. The Giver. Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1993.
Shanley, Mary Lyndon. Making Babies, Making Families: What Matters Most in an Age of
Reproductive Technologies, Surrogacy, Adoption, and Same-sex and Unwed Parents.
Boston: Beacon Press, 2001.
This book explains how a family should be with one another and what changes
that families are going through. I found this on this book on the one search through
CSUN Oviatt Library. I searched for “family” and looked through the books. It is a book
that has various examples of different types of families that get children through different
situations which made it trustworthy. This book will be useful in my essay it will help me
give examples of what a family with love and affection really should be like rather than a
family in The Giver.
Thomese, G.C.F, A.C Liefbroer, R Kaptijn, and van, T.G Tilburg. "How Grandparents Matter.
Support for the Cooperative Breeding Hypothesis in a Contemporary Dutch
Population."Human Nature : An Interdisciplinary Biosocial Perspective, 21.4 (2010):
393-405.

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This article explains Grandparents are important to families and how children
would benefit from them being around rather that not knowing who they are and never
talking about them like in The Giver. I found this on this book on the one search through
CSUN Oviatt Library. I searched for “Grandparents Matter” and looked through the
books. It is an article that can help explain the importance of extended family which
made it trustworthy. This book will be useful in my essay because it provides a great deal
of information about different types of families and situations in the families rather than a
nuclear family which is seen in The Giver.