In The Giver by Lois Lowry, what steps does Jonas take to escape to Elsewhere?

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mwestwood | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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After having learned the truth about release, the Giver explains to Jonas that the others in his society know nothing else.

"Jonas, you and I are the only ones who have feelings. We've been sharing them now for almost a year."

Because he understands so much more, Jonas feels he cannot go back to his family. So, he plans his escape in Chapter 20:

  • First, the Giver will transfer every memory of strength and courage that he can to Jonas, who will need them.
  • Then, in the middle of the night before the Ceremony, Jonas will sneak out of his dwelling at midnight when the Food Collectors will have finished gathering up the evening-meal remains.
  • Carefully, he will ride his bicycle to the riverbank and hide it in the bushes with the clothing he will bring.
  • After this, Jonas will walk silently to the Annex and slip into the room because the Giver will leave the door unlocked.
  • In the morning, his parents will discover that he has gone; however, he will have a note that says he went for a bicycle ride along the river and will return in time for the Ceremony.
  • When he does not appear, his parents will be forced to go on to the Ceremony with Lily; however, they will not say anything because Jonas's absence would reflect upon them. Since he is a Twelve, he is permitted to sit with friends or his parents, so no one will suspect his absence for some time.
  • In the early morning the Giver will call for a vehicle.
  • When the driver arrives with the vehicle, the Giver will send the driver on an errand so that while he is gone, Jonas will be able to hide in the storage area of the vehicle with a bundle of food.
  • Then, Jonas and the Giver will go on their way. 
  • The absence of Jonas will be discovered, but the Ceremony will not be disrupted; instead, searchers will just be sent out
  • By the time searchers are out, the bicycle and the clothing will be discovered.
  • In the meantime, the Giver will return while the people with no memory of anything like an escape will be in a panic.
  • The Giver will announce that Jonas has been lost in the river. 
  • He will begin the Ceremony of Loss.
  • Finally, their attention will turn to burying the memories, and the Giver will help them.
  • The Giver will help the community to change so that they will be able to keep memories.
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