What are the flat, round, dynamic, and static characters in The Giver?  

Expert Answers
mwestwood eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Characterization is the creation of a person or animal who takes part in the plot of a narrative of some type. Some characters are memorable to a reader while others are not. The memorable character is usually a dynamic character since he/she is one who changes in the course of a literary work.

ROUND CHARACTERS - In The Giver, Jonas and the Giver himself are round characters because they can feel pain and suffering as well as pleasant feelings, none of which the others in the community can experience. They are multifaceted like real people. They have these feelings and sensations because they are the keepers of memories.

DYNAMIC CHARACTERS - Jonas, especially, is a dynamic character because he revolts against the monochromatic and insensate world in which he lives. He chooses to disobey the rules of the rigid world in which he lives by running away and saving the baby Gabriel. The Giver is also a dynamic character because he decides to break precedent and aid Jonas in his escape from the world in which he and little Gabriel live. He does this partly because he can help save the baby Gabriel, and he can also aid the others with the memories that would return to them from Jonas. These memories would make them more human. Also, by doing this, the Giver would unburden himself of some of the pain and suffering that he has borne for so long. He tells Jonas, "The worst part of holding the memories is not the pain. It's the loneliness of it. Memories need to be shared." If he helps others in the community with memories, the Giver will not be so lonely.

ROUND CHARACTERS - Round characters are multifaceted, like a real person. In addition to being dynamic characters, the Giver and Jonas are round characters. The Giver's daughter Rosemary was a round character, as well, although she is only mentioned after her death. She was unable to bear the memories of pain and tragedy, and she asked to be released.

FLAT CHARACTERS - Flat characters are one-dimensional. The majority of characters in Lowry's dystopia are flat; they exhibit no real feelings, no higher-level thinking. They are devoid of genuine emotion. One example is pointed out to Jonas by a sardonic Giver after Jonas is appalled that his father would "release" Gabriel's twin. The Giver alludes to Jonas's friend Fiona: "Fiona is already being trained in the fine art of release. Feelings are not part of the life she's learned."

STATIC CHARACTERS - These characters do not change throughout a narrative. Most of the characters in Lowry's novel are also static. The other members of Jonas's family are static characters because they are the same at the end of the narrative as they are at the beginning. For example, one evening during the daily "ritual of telling of feelings," Jonas's sister, Lily, exhibits the sameness of thought that she shares with others of her age as she describes the visit her class took to another community: "I felt strange. Because their methods were different. They were learning usages my group hadn't learned yet, so we felt stupid." 

litteacher8 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

A round character is one who is fully developed and described in detail. These are characters we know a lot about.  We know what they look like, and how they act, and what their motivations are.  These are the main characters.  In The Giver, the most significant round characters are Jonas and The Giver.  These are the only two characters we really understand and know a lot about.

A flat character is not well-developed. We may know a few details about this character, such as what he or she looks like, but we don’t really know what the person is thinking or feeling or understand his or her actions.  These are the supporting characters, who are named but not much else.  Fiona is an example.

A static character does not change throughout the story. Unlike the main character, who grows and changes, static characters stay the same no matter what.  An example is Jonas’s mother and father.  We know very little about them, but we do know that they never change.  For instance, we know that Jonas’s father seems to care about newchildren, but he also willingly kills a newborn.  Asher is also a static character.

A dynamic character changes throughout the course of the story. In The Giver, the only people who change in any meaningful way are Jonas and The Giver.  Jonas is the biggest example, because he matures and changes tremendously throughout the story.  He also sparks change in The Giver though, as The Giver does decide to help Jonas change the community.