The front door burst open to reveal a woman of twenty-seven or so, her brown hair flying out behind her as she descended the porch steps to the just-arriving car.
Fiona stepped out of the car slowly, maneuvering her head so her forehead wouldn't meet the door. There was a dead expression in her eyes, desperate for something past love and warmth… family.
"Oh my god," Diana said, running up to the red-haired teenager and crushing her in an embrace. "I can't believe you! Do you know how long you've been gone?" Truthfully, it had been five days.
It took a full second for Fiona to return the hug. "… Seems like forever," she whispered brokenly, staring at Jonas over Diana's shoulder.
Diana pulled back. "You are grounded!" she ordered before turning to face Jonas. "And you too! Neither of you are ever leaving the house again!"
Almost three hours later, the coffee cup in Diana's hand shook uncontrollably. Peter tactfully reached over and removed it from her fingers. She gave it up easily, leaning forward to cover her face with her hands.
Fiona and Jonas sat opposite the coffee table from them, silent. A long moment passed before her name pierced the air for the first time since her arrival.
The teenagers glanced at each other, then back to the carpet. Fiona closed her eyes and counted slowly to three before uttering her answer.
Diana shook her head slowly, tears in her eyes. "Oh god, I'm so glad you came back, Eve. I don't know what I would have done if you hadn't."
Fiona swallowed thickly. She kept telling herself to answer, but the words wouldn't come. Jonas reached over and entwined his hand in hers.
"Me either," he said softly.
Diana and Peter stood after a few minutes and left the room, twin expressions of incredibility reflected. But they were believers.
She felt his hand on her cheek barely after their departure. Determined, he turned her face toward him, looking intently in both her eyes. Then, very slowly, he leaned forward and kissed her gently on the lips. Fiona didn't even close her eyes.
"Fiona…" he said softly.
She shook her head. "Eve," she corrected, barely a breath behind the word. She closed her eyes, silently saying the words she knew her sister could hear.
You did give me a chance at life. You gave me your life.
Eve supporters unite to flame me. Come on, you know want to. ^_^ Questions? Yes, I know you probably have many of them. E-mail me or review.
I confess; this was an English assignment. But of course, I wasn't going to let readers know that by putting it in the summary because lord knows how many other Giver fics have it in theirs. I suppose I wanted to be unique. ^_^
I opened the book to look for a good sub-plot and flipped almost straight to page 115 (paperback edition) to find the words that have stuck with me for five years.
"Jonas, listening, thought suddenly about the bridge and how, standing there, he had wondered what lay Elsewhere. Was there someone there, waiting, who would receive the tiny released twin? Would it grow up Elsewhere, not knowing, ever, that in this community lived a being who looked exactly the same?"
And I wanted to shout, EUREKA!! but I settled for a dropped jaw. That was the winning phrase in the entire novel, and I knew exactly what I was going to write my assignment sequel about.
But there was something I had to get around, and that was the fact that at that point in the book, the reader doesn't yet know that release is murder. Being twelve years old, and not quite as polished a writer as I am today, I merely said the twin escaped somehow with a helper.
My original idea? Jonas finds his twin Elsewhere. Second idea? Jonas finds Lily's/Mother's/Father's twin Elsewhere. After a night of playing Final Fantasy VII (which was THE video game at the time) and watching a sweet exchange between the hero, Cloud, and his childhood love, Tifa? Jonas finds Fiona's twin Elsewhere.
I liked that one best. I was a romantic then, and that still hasn't changed. Truth be told, I was always unsatisfied with the way the book left Jonas and Fiona's relationship hanging. Lois Lowry obviously made a point to say Jonas liked her as more than a friend, what with the dreams and their sexual innuendo and always describing the little redhead as beautiful, calm, nice, sweet, patient, polite, fun, lovely…
Yeah, need I say more? Fiona was the Mary-Sue of The Giver, ain't no one gonna convince me otherwise. She was virtually perfect until you learn from the Giver that she releases the Old very efficiently, without any feeling of remorse. And then you start pushing her off into the gray blend of "unfeeling characters," to which you have already pegged Father, Mother, Lily, and Asher. And hot damn, the romantic in me wanted Fiona not to give in, but Lois Lowry had a different plan.
But what do we do when we don't like the way the original work went? We write FANFICTION, hell yeah! That's what I'm talking about!
Ahem. Anyway, I wrote my little sequel about Jonas knocking on somebody's door and being let in, (because there isn't really any other way to pick up right after the book) but low and behold, who does he see but a girl who is the spitting image of his childhood love. And her name is Eve.
I should probably tell you right now, I LOVE symbolism. And who doesn't, am I right? Is that not just the most powerful tool an author can use to convey a theme? Symbolism and irony are my favorite literary tools. I pack my stories full of them, every single one.
Like I said, I'm not a religious person at all, but I like to use mythological and biblical references to symbolize my characters because both of those writings are universal, so anyone and everyone can understand my characters. My original characters in this story, Eve, Diana, and Peter, are the symbols for their historical or mythological character, and I'm pretty sure some of you picked up on that.
I made a small reference to it in chapter five, but I think most people just brushed it off as conversation. And maybe not, you tell me. Anyhow, the story of Adam and Eve was always something I wanted to put in TFOL, just to get readers thinking. I named Fiona's twin Eve because she was (so said the Hebrews, allegorically) the first woman on Earth.
"Fiona is already being trained in the fine art of release," The Giver told him. "She's very efficient at her work, your red-haired friend. Feelings are not part of the life she's learned." (pg. 153)
I wanted to make a major foil here, in the sense that Fiona was the twin who was controlled and unfeeling, while Eve was the twin who "received the knowledge," so to speak. The biblical Eve ate from the Tree of Knowledge and was enlightened with things like lust and the evils of the world. And she was booted out of the Garden of Eden for it. Both Eve's are strong female characters who were fated to know the truth and live in an imperfect world, but as a whole, be more complete as people and as women.
People were supposed to think Eve was a Mary-Sue, especially in the first few chapters of the fic where I made sure to drop as many compliments about her as I could… polite, free-spirited, pretty…
But Lois Lowry brought Fiona down with the release/murder ordeal. I paralleled that with bringing Eve down by giving her a *sigh* boyfriend. Because, as we all know, nobody is perfect. And oh, the irony of that saying in reference to a story like The Giver.
Diana. In Greek Mythology, she is Artemis, goddess of the hunt. I used her Roman name, however, simply because it's more fitting in a story like this. Artemis strikes me as an exotic, fantasy, Harry Potter-esque name that would be better suited to a—hehe—goddess. Still, the symbolism is the same.
She was the huntress, the mastermind behind escaping the community. Diana the goddess was also the protector of youth, and I figure it doesn't get more blazing obvious that I was paralleling that to the Diana in my story with her protecting baby Eve from a nasty fate.
Peter. Jesus' right hand man, the head of the disciples, etc. Before Jesus died, he asked Peter three times if he would, basically, look after his people—the Jews, obviously. Peter in my fic is definitely the protector, both to Diana and Eve and, eventually, Jonas and Gabriel. I don't know if I was shooting for a fatherly image, really, but if it came across like that, I won't say you're wrong.
Luminus. Even my city names have symbolism, for Pete's sake. Definition of luminous—full of light, giving off light; shining (Wagnalls Standard Desk Dictionary). And Jonas has "seen the light," so to speak, with his arriving Elsewhere, and knowing the pleasures and pains of life. And even in the book, I was trying to make it so that while he was trudging through the snow with Gabriel, it was almost like Luminus was the beacon, the light that he had to reach.
All symbolism aside, OF COURSE, my original idea had Eve and Jonas falling for each other after learning their common factor was Fiona. And in sixth grade, it worked. I wrote three notebook pages total, front and back, explaining Eve's survival and hinting at a romance between herself and Jonas.
I got an A+.
And the years went on, me writing as always. I registered with fanfiction.net in September of 2000, during my freshman year in high school. My obsession at that point in my life was Final Fantasy VIII, which I still write fanfiction for, very dedicatedly, I must say.
But I was browsing one day and noticed The Giver amongst the many categories in the books section of the site. I thought absently, very absently, "Hm. I wonder if I can put up the sequel I wrote in sixth grade."
And all of the sudden, I wasn't so absent anymore. It's fate, I tell you.
I clawed through four years worth of schoolwork for those three notebook pages and finally found them stuffed in a folder with some old worksheets. But of course, reading the narration style made me want to vomit, because it plainly consisted of,
Jonas knocked on the door. It opened. "Who are you?" the woman asked. "I'm Jonas. Can I come in?"
Yes, I am quoting directly. For the love of Zeus, I knew I had to buff it up, but I was determined. After browsing through the fics in this section, I realized no one else had come up with the plot of Fiona's twin, or anyone's twin, for that matter. So I set out to make a splash in The Giver fanfiction, and judging from the reviews, you guys liked it.
More confessions: Diana and Peter were not in the original three-page English assignment. I only had an elderly woman looking after Eve, having been the one to take her from the Community. She remained nameless then, but I made her evolve into Rachelle, Diana and Eve's adoptive mother.
Diana and Peter were thought up as I was rewriting, as was the whole, and I mean WHOLE explanation about them escaping the community. And I mean even more WHOLE when I thought of Collette and Robert, and the Infrastructure.
It took me a night to think this plot up. When you're on a roll, you're on a roll, you know what I'm saying? As authors, we've all had our moments.
It was difficult trying to make myself understand it, though, if that makes any sense. I knew what I wanted to write—the communities being the result of government stem-cell research and the twisted minds of a few individual scientists—but I had to make it all fit in with the book.
The way Lois Lowry wrote The Giver was… difficult to pick up with a realistic plot. She had a touch of the supernatural in her story, with the sunless sky, colorless vision, and memories going to EVERYBODY once the Receiver left. But she never fully explained the transition from real world to organized Utopia. There were just wisps of conversation that said things like, "Before Sameness, before they did away with differences…"
Yeah, okay, Lois, that's just ASKING for fanfiction right there.
And me? Well, I found it pretty hard to try and tie her supernatural setting with a realistic explanation. Knowing that her story was set in the future, however, I managed to explain it with a concept that we have in today's world.
And the web was spun. Also, the peace in the Middle East thing is something that would tie the story in with things that are happening now, with us. Or, actually, when I thought up the plot, it was 2001, after September 11. I figured readers might better understand the reason behind the Community Project if it had to do with FINALLY being able to create a peaceful arrangement between the two peoples who have fought against each other for the last 2000+ years, both religiously and politically.
So there you have it. The government was really just trying to see if they could create the perfect state by means of conditioning pain, hunger, and war, and yet doing away with pleasures, love, and the good stuff in life.
I'm not going to get too philosophical, because I think the book had its own philosophy that I simply just carry on with TFOL. The love story is prominent, or it's supposed to be, but if you feel like the sci-fi portion of it overshadowed the Eve-Jonas-Fiona triangle, please tell me.
I love romantic sacrifice. I think, when written well, it can be VERY effective, because I know the waterworks come real easy when I read or see it. And Eve, well, I wrote her to be very strong-willed and valorous, but I didn't want to martyr her, necessarily. She only did what she thought was right, and by that point, the reader knows she really does love Jonas.
As does Fiona. And even if she is going to be called Eve for the rest of her life by everyone except Jonas and Lily, she's proud of her twin sister, and more than grateful. There's an irony in Jonas ending up with Fiona but having to call her Eve in front of others. It's representative of the fact that he did love Eve, and not because she had Fiona's face, but because he really and truly did fall in love with her for who she was.
And I'm sure there is eye-rolling and criticism from those who think you can't be in love with two people at the same time, and even a little part of me doesn't quite believe it, but I wanted to write a common love story with a unique twist. I'll say it again—I am an avid supporter of Jonas and Fiona. But Eve has her own spotlight, and it's bittersweet.
Well now. I think I've outlined all the major themes and symbolism, because it would take so many more paragraphs to tell you all the rest of them… the black chairs, the bridge… yeah, that would spoil you finding them all, you know?
This story is something I'm proud of, and I would venture to say it's my most… involved piece. And all this because of one person: Mrs. Holland. She assigned the class a sequel and I turned in a pathetic little piece, but I've fixed it all up to my liking now.
ONE LAST THING: I was reading and rereading the book for references and information just the other day when I stumbled across another passage that could have inspired a story similar to The Face of Love:
Lily grinned. "I have a better idea for one more story," she announced. "What if we were all twins and didn't know it, and so Elsewhere, there would be another Lily, and another Jonas, and another Father, and another Asher, and another Chief-Elder, and another—"
Another Fiona, that's who. And thus Eve is created. Pun intended.
Thank you to each and every one of you who read and reviewed this fic, because you guys really kept me on my toes with these last chapters. I said I would finish by August 7, and so here you are.