The Giver Questions and Answers
by Lois Lowry

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How would you describe the mood of The Giver in chapters 1-5?  

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Lois Lowry’s 1994 Newberry Medal winning young adult novel, The Giver, opens with a mood of nervous anticipation. The main character Jonas at first describes himself as “frightened” as he awaits the upcoming Ceremony of Twelve. At this ceremony, all twelve-year-olds in the community are assigned the jobs they will perform for the rest of their lives. Jonas later clarifies his emotion as “apprehensive.” Chapter one concludes with Jonas participating with his family in the nightly ritual of sharing feelings. There is a caring, nurturing mood to this conversation as each family member takes his or her turn.  

In chapter two, Jonas’ mother and father have a private conversation with him about the Ceremony of Twelve and share their own experiences. The mood is gentle and reassuring as Jonas’ parents convince him that the Elders can be trusted to make the best decision for everyone.

Chapter three includes a flashback in which Jonas remembers an odd incident with an apple that he sees change in a way he can’t describe. This memory brings a mood of uneasy confusion, especially because this is a world where all aspects of life are predictable.

Next, in chapter four, Jonas and his friends volunteer at the House of the Old. There is a peaceful atmosphere as the friends bathe the elderly residents. However, the conversation turns to “Release,” a part of life in the community shrouded in mystery. This peaceful scene takes on a slightly tense edge as Jonas wonders where people really go when they are released to “Elsewhere.”

Chapter five eases the tension, returning to a more light-hearted mood. Jonas reveals to his family during morning dream telling about a dream involving Fiona. His parents reassure him that this is normal—he is now getting “the stirrings” and must take a pill each day to suppress them.

Overall, the first five chapters of The Giver have a mood of nervous anticipation that contrasts with the comfort of the predictable life Jonas has always known.     

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