"Do you love me?"

"Father? Mother?" Jonas asked tentatively after the evening meal. "I have a question I want to ask you."

"What is it, Jonas?" his father asked.

He made himself say the words, though he felt flushed with embarrassment. He had rehearsed them in his mind all the way home from the Annex.

"Do you love me?"

There was an awkward silence for a moment. Then Father gave a little chuckle. "Jonas. You, of all people. Precision of language, please!"

"What do you mean?" Jonas asked. Amusement was not at all what he had anticipated.

"Your father means that you used a very generalized word, so meaningless that it's become almost obsolete," his mother explained carefully.

Jonas stared at them. Meaningless? He had never before felt anything as meaningful as the memory.

"And of course our community can't function smoothly if people don't use precise language. You could ask, 'Do you enjoy me?' The answer is 'Yes,'" his mother said.

"Or," his father suggested, "Do you take pride in my accomplishments?' And the answer is wholeheartedly 'Yes.'"

Do you understand why it's inappropriate to use a word like 'love'?" Mother asked.

Jonas nodded. "Yes, thank you, I do," he replied slowly.

It was his first lie to his parents.


From "The Giver" by Lois Lowry. A juvenile book, probably aimed at the 10-14 year old crowd. I read it last night and enjoyed it - though maybe more so if I was 10.

Got to love the jacket cover (or maybe it is just because I like beards):

Comments

haha This hits close to home. It's been pointed out to me before that I severely overuse the "L" word. ("Oh, I love that movie!"...or "that song!"...or "this post"...you get the idea.) :D

I should amuse myself by going and counting how many times I've used the L-word in my blog since it's beginning 3 months ago. heheh

(No worries about lack of commenting on mine. Yours is much more thought-provoking.)

Love,
MIO

*kidding* ;)
Hi it's me. I have changed my blog address. You can find my blog at www.elvina33.blogspot.com.

Need to move, because I have been bombed by spammers. :)

Seeya soon.
Richard said…
MIO: not exactly what I got out of the passage. Maybe it is because I know the book is about a dystopian world. The passage was interesting to me because the child was seeking affirmation of love and received instead an approval of his functionality.

Elvina: thanks.
freckled-one said…
How sad that his parents wouldn't use the word "Love" with the boy. I use it everyday.. probably more than my boys would like to hear it but that may be because I grew up without hearing it either. It wasn't until I was an adult that my father ever told me he loved me.

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