What is the Giver's appearance in the book The Giver?

Expert Answers

An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

Lowry never gives a detailed description of the Giver's appearance but there are minor descriptions of what he looks like in the story. When Jonas initially arrives at the Annex for his first training session, he is greeted by an attendant, who allows him inside a locked door leading to the Giver's unique dwelling. Inside the Annex, Jonas comes face-to-face with the Giver. Jonas notices that the Giver is wearing a special long robe, which designates the Elders from the other members of the community. He then notices that the Giver has pale eyes, which is why it seems like Jonas is staring directly into a mirror of himself. The Giver also has "sagging flesh" on his face and there are dark circles around his piercing, intense eyes. Jonas comments on the Giver's age by saying that he can tell he is very old. However, the Giver responds by saying that he is not as old as he seems. The Giver's job is extremely difficult and the massive amount of stress, pain, and trauma have aged him significantly. Overall, the Giver looks like an old man with pale eyes, who has seen a lot and is very wise.

Approved by eNotes Editorial Team
An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

In The Giver, we are not provided with a great deal of physical description of the Giver.  He wears the same "special" (Lowry 75) clothes as the Elders in the community wear.  We can infer that he has eyes that are not brown, since Jonas sees "pale eyes that mirrored his own" (75). Jonas cannot see color, yet, with the exception of occasional shimmers of red, but paleness suggests eyes that are blue, green, gray, or hazel.  Jonas tells the Giver he can see the Giver is "very old" (75), with wrinkles, "sagging flesh" (75), and dark circles under his eyes. The Giver tells Jonas that he is not as old as he looks, but being the Giver has aged him. And of course, Jonas is twelve, and when we are young, we often tend to think that adults are much older than they actually are. 

Approved by eNotes Editorial Team

We’ll help your grades soar

Start your 48-hour free trial and unlock all the summaries, Q&A, and analyses you need to get better grades now.

  • 30,000+ book summaries
  • 20% study tools discount
  • Ad-free content
  • PDF downloads
  • 300,000+ answers
  • 5-star customer support
Start your 48-Hour Free Trial