The Giver

Author: Lois Lowry

Date Published: 1993

Meaning of the Title: In the community, there is almost always one Receiver. When it is almost time for a new Receiver, the old Receiver becomes the Giver. What are given and received are memories. The Receivers/Givers are the only members of the community that have access to the memories.

Setting: Some time in the future in a seemingly utopian community that is actually a dystopian community.

Genre: Dystopian novel for young adults.

Protagonist: Jonas

Mood: Apprehensive

Point of View: Limited omniscient. The point of view is that of Jonas as told through an external narrator.

Tense: The story is related in the past tense.

Rising Action: When, during the Ceremony of Twelve, Jonas is made the new Receiver, his life and way of viewing things change.

Exposition: The exposition takes place slowly of the first chapters, when we slowly learn how the community functions.

Climax: The climax of the story is when Jonas views the video showing his father releasing one of the newchildren.

Outcome: The outcome that we know is that Jonas and Gabriel head toward Elsewhere. The final outcome is not certain. It is not clear whether Jonas actually sees Elsewhere or whether he is hallucinating due to the cold. Either Jonas and Gabriel reach Elsewhere or they die as they approach it. If they reach Elsewhere and Jonas is not hallucinating, then it is likely that the community they left also changes and has music as Jonas hears.

Major themes: The importance of memory; The importance of the individual; The value of freedom to make choices; The relationship between pain and pleasure

Minor themes: The value of a multi-generational family; The importance of making connections; The value of diversity; The importance of honesty


These are some common words used in uncommon ways in this novel:

Nurturer is one who takes care of the newchildren.

Newchild is a baby before it is named and given to its family.

House of the Old is where the Old live until they are released.

Volunteer Hours are the hours spent by children after school when they try out various occupations. Children begin their Volunteer Hours after the Ceremony of Eight. By observing children at the various occupations the Elders can decide where their aptitude lies and assign them a compatible job when they turn twelve.

Birthmother is the natural mother of a child. Unfortunately they are not allowed to see the child or to have any part in its life past the birth.

Celebration of Release is the ceremony before someone is released. The release itself is the ending of the person's life.

Comfort Object is a toy imaginary animal given to a child to give him or her comfort. No one, not even adults, realizes that the imaginary animals are copied from what were once real animals. Comfort objects are given while the newchildren are in the Nurturing Center. They are kept by the children until the Ceremony of Eight.

Cite this page:

Clapsaddle, Diane. "TheBestNotes on A Long Way Gone".