Our comprehensive interpretation of Lois Lowrys's young adult novel The Giver (1993) addresses the twelve most important themes. First, we describe the rules that govern the community members’ private, professional, and public lives. Particular attention is paid in this section to the rules of politeness, the evening telling of feelings, and the morning dream-telling, nudity and sexuality, and reproduction and family units.
The three themes of surveillance, control and punishment, which determine the behavior of the community members, are then examined one after the other, before the term "release" is explained in more detail, as it connects to the community’s practiced of forced euthanasia. In the harmonious and painless society in which the young main character lives, there is no talk of death. Outsiders, criminals, old people, and unwanted children suddenly disappear and are transferred to "Elsewhere". Jonas is shocked when he learns the truth from the Giver about the final destination.
The community is governed by conformity. This principle is mainly related to the environment, housing, food, clothing, hairstyle, and behavior and forms a protection against wrong decisions. The role of memory plays a fundamental role in the novel, therefore the author's intention, namely the society without memories, as well as the attainment, burden, and release of memories will be discussed afterwards. The last six themes interpret different elements of the narrative: dictatorship, lies, love, sexuality, and finally individuality.
Our detailed interpretation stays close to the text and is written in easy-to-understand language. It is a useful tool for understanding the text and forms a solid basis for one's own reflections and discussions.
Below, you can read an excerpt from our study guide: