What Is the Plot in "The Giver"?


Quick Answer

Lois Lowry's "The Giver" follows Jonas after he is selected as his community's next Receiver of Memory and starts training with the current Receiver. This training opens his eyes to what's wrong in his community, and he realizes that he alone has the power to change his community forever.

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Full Answer

Jonas lives in an unnamed utopia in which there is no color, pain, hunger, inconvenience, prejudice, fear, war or hatred. Birth mothers have 50 children each year and compatible adults raise children together. Children follow specific rules, one of which is that the Committee of Elders decides the work they are to perform. People are released, or killed, when they no longer are useful, and no one but the Receiver of Memory has emotions and memories of experiences.

After learning he'll become the next Receiver of Memory, Jonas trains with the current Receiver and learns the pitfalls of embracing Sameness. He's never experienced the thrill of going downhill in the snow, and he only understands color, love, war and pain after learning about them from the current Receiver, whom he calls the Giver. Jonas learns that while people in his community appear to love each other, they do not, because they do not know what love is.

After learning that release means death, Jonas decides to leave his community and journey to Elsewhere, hoping to return all memories he's received from the Giver back to the community, forcing them to remember their pasts and what feelings and emotions are. He takes a 2-year-old boy named Gabriel with him, to prevent him from being released. The journey to Elsewhere is difficult, but Jonas and Gabriel reach it, convinced that their actions will leave the community better off than it currently is.

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