Summaries

The linear plot of the novel The Giver by Lois Lowry is actually easy to follow, but the backgrounds of the characters' decisions in the strange and futuristic society are sometimes difficult to understand. In fact, the living conditions of the members of the community are very different from the ones we know. The people there do not know war, hunger, fear, pain, unemployment, worry, or love. The perfect course of their lives is pre-programmed from their birth to their death. 

However, people have to pay a high price for this security and seemingly idyllic life. They cannot make any decisions for themselves. Their profession, whether to have a partner or children, or what to strive for is determined by the Committee of Elders. Their work and private lives are regulated, monitored, and controlled. They live in a colorless world and know no seasons and no weather. They are not even familiar with sun or snow.

Our thorough chapter summary offers you a detailed overview of the 23 chapters of the story. You'll get information about the place and time of the action. Also, we list the characters involved in the plot. Finally, the page contains a short overview of the main points of each chapter. 

Short summary

The dystopian society

Lois Lowry's dystopian novel The Giver (1993) is set in a seemingly peaceful, safe, and ideal community without war, strife, poverty, or starvation. Infants and the elderly are cared for in centers, and the population is supplied with food. No one lies, and everyone in the community is granted children, spouses, and occupations that match the person's inclinations and abilities. Family members treat each other with respect and regularly discuss their feelings and dreams.

The Committee of Elders leads the community, and everything, from birth to death, is precisely regulated by strict rules, rituals, ceremonies, monitoring, and punishments. Thus, the population has no say in their lives. They are left in ignorance about many things, for example about the matter of "releasing": criminals, old people, and even unwanted babies are said to be released, which means that they are killed with the help of a lethal injection.

In the community, people's behavior is medically controlled. Its members are therefore unemotional, conformist, and uncritical. They live according to the principle of "Sameness" in a colorless and conformist world where sun, storm, and snow have been abolished.

The new Receiver of Memory

The novel tells the story of Jonas, a 12-year-old student who is chosen as the successor to the Receiver of Memory at "The Ceremony of Twelve". The current old Receiver of Memory carries all the memories of the world within him so that the people of the community do not have to deal with them. He is now to transfer these memories to Jonas. 

In the next year, the Receiver, who is also called the Giver, transmits good as well as bad and painful memories to Jonas. In this context, Jonas acquires great knowledge and learns about colors and feelings. When he learns the truth about releasing from the Giver and sees his own father, who is a Nurturer, kill a baby, Jonas is horrified. 

Together with the Giver, who has become his confidant and friend, Jonas devises a plan to escape from the community. In this way, the memories he now carries will be returned to the people. Jonas changes his escape plan, however, when he learns from his father that the baby that Jonas' family has been caring for during the past year is scheduled to be released.

Jonas has developed a close bond with Gabriel, the baby, and wants to save him. He flees together with him at night on his father's bicycle. During the dangerous escape, which lasts several days, Jonas protects them both by evoking memories. The two almost die from hunger, exhaustion, and frost, but then they arrive at a place that Jonas knows from his first memory. It is a snowy mountain with a sled, with which they go down the mountain. Jonas is sure that a better and safer world is waiting for him down there. What really lies at the end of the mountain and what will happen to Jonas and Gabriel remains open at the end of the story.

Detailed summary

Jonas' idyllic world

Lois Lowry's dystopian novel The Giver (1993) tells the story of Jonas, a 12-year-old student , who lives with his parents and his sister Lily in a terraced house. He lives happily in a well-organized, peaceful, and safe community where people are provided with everything they need to live. However, there is no longer any freedom of choice in this future society. Both people's private lives and their professional careers are regulated from birth to death, from morning to evening.

Spouses, children, and jobs are assigned by the Committee of Elders. Children are given to a family at the age of about one year. However, babies who do not develop well enough are released, as are offenders and the elderly when they reach a certain age. 

Every December, the December Ceremonies are held, where something changes for the children. For example, the "Eights" have to complete volunteer hours and "Nines" receive a new bike. This continues util the children turn 12, when they are sent to train for their new vocation.

Jonas' training as the Receiver of Memory

In the first part of the novel, Jonas' Ceremony of Twelve takes place. Jonas is interested in man...

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