How does the author use foreshadowing to create a sense of foreboding and suspense in The Giver?

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I have read The Giver numerous times with students, and one of the reasons that it works so well (besides the fact that I love dystopian literature) is that there is incredible foreshadowing in almost every chapter that keeps readers hanging on and turning pages to find out how the...

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I have read The Giver numerous times with students, and one of the reasons that it works so well (besides the fact that I love dystopian literature) is that there is incredible foreshadowing in almost every chapter that keeps readers hanging on and turning pages to find out how the conflict will resolve.

Consider this section from the section when the Twelves are all receiving their Assignments:

The Assignments continued, and Jonas watched and listened, relieved now by the wonderful Assignment his best friend had been given. But he was more and more apprehensive as his own approached.

Jonas has been apprehensive about his Assignment for weeks. Unlike his parents and his friends, he has no idea what his assignment might be. And in this section, there is again foreshadowing that the Assignment will not turn out as Jonas expects. (And, as it turns out, he is skipped in order, which leads to unrest in the audience.)

After Jonas receives his first memories, he and The Giver have this exchange:

There was a question bothering Jonas. "Sir," he said, "The Chief Elder told me — she told everyone — and you told me, too, that it would be painful. So I was a little scared. But it didn't hurt at all. I really enjoyed it." He looked quizzically at the old man.
The man sighed. "I started you with memories of pleasure. My previous failure gave me the wisdom to do that." He took a few deep breaths. "Jonas," he said, "it will be painful. But it need not be painful yet."

This foreshadows the difficulties that lie ahead of Jonas. While he thinks the minor pain he receives at first is the suffering the Giver speaks of, the reader understands that he has been so protected in his community (not even knowing the word for "sunshine" and therefore never having experienced sunburn) that he cannot fathom what lies ahead in his training.

As Jonas's training continues, his acceptance of his community's way of life transforms, too:

He found that he was often angry, now: irrationally angry at his groupmates, that they were satisfied with their lives which had none of the vibrance his own was taking on. And he was angry at himself, that he could not change that for them.

This foreshadows that Jonas is going to make some different choices. He is beginning to want to "change" things for his friends and family because he sees the truth of a life that could exist for them all. And the reader knows that he cannot go back, that this anger will drive his character development and therefore the plot.

The foreshadowing in The Giver is incredible in keeping readers engaged in suspenseful plot developments, making it difficult to put down.

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Foreshadowing is a hint the author drops about what is going to happen later.  It creates suspense, which is a feeling of excitement that makes the reader want to keep reading.  So foreshadowing and suspense are very closely related.

One example of foreshadowing occurs on the very first page, when Jonas remembers a plane that flies over the community.

Frightened was the way he had felt a year ago when an unidentified aircraft had overflown the community twice. (p. 1)

This foreshadows the search planes that will look for Jonas later, but it also establishes a mood of impending doom and suspense.  We wonder what is going on in this community that a plane flying overhead would cause such fear. 

The plane also brings in the concept of release, which foreshadows the trouble Jonas has trying to save Gabriel.

There were only two occasions of release which were not punishment. Release of the elderly, which was a time of celebration for a life well and fully lived; and release of a newchild, which always brought a sense of what-could-we-have-done. (p. 7-8)

This again foreshadows the controlling nature of the community and creates suspense over what release is.

Finally, another key element of foreshadowing is the changing apple.

But suddenly Jonas had noticed, following the path of the apple through the air with his eyes, that the piece of fruit had—well, this was the part that he couldn't adequately understand—the apple had changed. (p. 24)

Jonas sees the apple’s color, in a world where no one has color.  This foreshadows Jonas’s ability to See Beyond, which means he has a capacity to be a Receiver of Memory.  This also creates suspense because we are not sure what is going on.

Lowry, Lois (1993-04-26). The Giver (Newbery Medal Book). Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. Kindle Edition.

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