Origins and inspiration

The stand-alone novel set in the future

The American writer Lois Lowry wanted The Giver to be a present-day novel, but then had to realize that she could tell her story better if she set it in the future: "I began the book The Giver with the idea of examining a culture that had succeeding in manipulating human memory and in doing so had been able to create a seemingly Utopian society. I began writing it as a contemporary novel but very soon realized that it needed to be set in the future… not perhaps terribly distant, but future nonetheless." 

The novel "The Giver" was published in 1993 and is the first part of the series The Giver Quartet. The titles of the other three books in the series are: Gathering Blue (2000), Messenger (2004), and Son (2012). All four novels are set in the same dystopian world, but are not direct sequels to each other, although some characters appeared or are mentioned in more than one novel. 

New characters are introduced and their life stories are told from their perspective. The Giver can therefore also be seen as a stand-alone novel. Lowry confirmed in an interview with Entertainment that she had not originally planned to write a book series.

Autobiographical references

Lois Lowry, as the daughter of a dentist in the U.S. Army, experienced a very uniformed, structured childhood and adolescence. She lived in military accommodations . For example, she lived with her family in Japan in a district with only other American families. This structured li...

The text shown above is just an extract. Only members can read the full content.

Get access to the full Study Guide.

As a member of, you get access to all of the content.

Sign up now

Already a member? Log in