What happens at the end of The Giver?

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bmrasmussen eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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The author doesn't tell us what the real ending of the story is.  It is possible that when Lowry wrote The Giver, she had a sequel in mind.  Leaving the ending of this book ambiguous would encourage readers to purchase the sequel.  You can read Gathering Blue and Messenger, which were written as companion books to The Giver and will give you more information.

Going on just what the book says, there are two conclusions you could reach.

First, Jonas and Gabriel die.  The book makes it clear that they are slowly freezing to death.  They are weak, hungry and tired.  The book also says that Jonas uses his last little bit of strength to find the sled waiting for him at the top of the hill.  They sled down the hill to "Elsewhere", perhaps an afterlife of some kind that follows death.  This could be why Jonas heard music as he slowly slipped down the hill.  In addition, the Giver was transmitting memories to Jonas before he died, giving the idea that if the Giver died before they were transmitted, they would be lost forever or else freed and allowed to enter the minds of the people.  Jonas, now, being the new keeper of the memories, would release those memories when he died.  This could be why he also heard singing behind him - as he slipped away, his friends and family received the memories he had carried and were freed from the austere existence they had experienced.

Second, Jonas and Gabriel find "Elsewhere", an unexplained real and literal place.  This is supported by the fact that there is a sled waiting for them, apparently placed there by people who are hoping he will find it and use it.  It would only stand to reason that if they placed it there for Jonas, they would be waiting for him at the bottom of the hill.  This is confirmed near the end of the chapter when it says that he knew they were waiting for him and the baby.  The book also supports this idea because he heard music and saw lights and warmth coming from Elsewhere, indicating that there is life and emotion there.  There is also the possibility that his leaving freed the residents of his home town and enabled them to have memory, which is why he heard them singing behind him.

I would suggest that the author wanted you to come to your own conclusions, so she intentionally left it very ambiguous.  Reading the two companion books mentioned above would help if you simply can't stand ambiguous endings (like me!).  

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If you just go by the information provided in The Giver, there is a lot of ambiguity.

As he approached the summit of the hill at last, something began to
happen. He was not warmer; if anything, he felt more numb and more cold. He was not less exhausted; on the contrary, his steps were leaden, and he could barely move his freezing, tired legs. But he began, suddenly, to feel happy. He began to recall happy times. He remembered his parents and his sister. He remembered his friends, Asher and Fiona. He remembered The Giver.

By the end of the book, Jonas and Gabriel...

(The entire section contains 17 answers and 3,265 words.)

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thewanderlust878 | Student

Wow. It has been quite a while since I've pondered this question. I remember when I first read the Giver and was very confused on the ending, as I assume you are now (perhaps not anymore hopefully). What I like about how Lois Lowry ended it was that it was open to interpretation. My initial reaction was that they died, but then I made myself believe that they survived and lived happily ever after (I don't like it when main characters die...). However, now that I am older, I do believe that they both were near death at the end, and most likely died. 

Hope this helps!

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user2263398 | Student

Q.how did the book end?

A.jonas felt cold and near death.

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crystaltu001 | Student

We can not know for sure whether Jonas and Gabriel died or not. However, one thing is certain. The author wrote that when they were on the sled, Jonas used up the last of his energy to give the sled one last push down the hill. The happy and joyful town that Jonas had seen could have been real, or it could also have been a memory the Giver had passed on to him. No one really knows.

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adasison | Student

The ending of The Giver is very ambiguous. Lois Lowry does this because she wants the reader to decide the fate of Jonas and Gabriel. Do they perish in the snow or do they make it to another,better community? 

In my reading, I chose to think hopefully. Jonas and the child find the beautiful town with warmth and singing. If you think they died in the snow you could say that what Jonas feels in his final moments are the memories the Giver placed in him.

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ik9744 | Student

Jonas and Gabriel did not die in The Giver later showing up in another book.

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user44111 | Student

okay so i havent read this book sinc 7th grade but i remember it pretty vividly. the way i thought of the ending was that jonas was just returning to the old town that he had just left and it had changed. the giver told jonas a story of a past reciever that had left and ALL the memories that had been recieved were lost and given to the people in the town leaving them overwelmed with all these new things they had never felt. so i believe that when jonas and gabe left it released all his memories to the rest of the people and he went in a big circle only to return to a completely different town because everyone had the memories of emotion and color , hot , cold , ect.

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zogo1011 | Student

No Jonas and Gaberial did not die if you read the companions "Gathering Blue" and "messanger" you will relise that the energetic child Gabe is Gabrial, and that the man with blue eyes called "Leader" is Jonas.

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selinaaas | Student

When I read the end of the Giver, I thought they reached the place where the memories of love and the sled were at. 

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dasnczeng | Student

I don't think either of your answers are correct.  Check the Q&A at the back of the book for proof.

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dasnczeng | Student

Lois Lowry, the author, makes the ending very mysterious.  She allows the reader to decide what they think the ending is.  In my opinion, I believe that Jonas and Gabriel have reached "Elsewhere."  They see snow, see and ride a sled, see light, hear music and hear people singing.  All of these things did not exist in Jonas' community.  Also Jonas received memories of all the things above except for music and singing.  The Giver said that Jonas would be receiving the memories of the whole world.  If they were seeing and hearing these things, that must mean that they were in a different part of the world, Elsewhere.  Another way to prove that Jonas and Gabriel had made it into Elsewhere is the fact that Jonas sensed that they were near it.  He felt it.

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yahoogirl | Student

They ended up in else where, other wise known as our world now.

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hakantekgul | Student

Writer used open ended plot structure here to make the end of the novel ambigous. Writer wants the readers to end the book based on their emotions and feelings. There are two options for the reader. Jonas could be survived, or Jonas could be dead. In my opinion, Jonas survived with Gabriel and reached elsewhere. He just hears music at the end. It can be either because of freezing or it can be real. Ending is totally based on the reader's perception and knowledge.

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asliozcan | Student

The end is ambiguous, it is totally up to your imagination and point of view. We just know that Jonas heard Christmas music so maybe he have died from hunger or because of the weather or he may have lived a long joyful life with Gabe.

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canokcabollu | Student

Ending of the book is up to your perception,point of view.Lowry mentioned that he heard music,it shows that they reached somewhere where is different from their community.I guess that they survived,they would begin to live in another society which has "music" inside it,it is my opinion,yours can be different.Different comments about the end show the ambiguous writing style.

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dilaraergul | Student

In the ending of the book, Lowry wrote that Jonas heared some voices and music. I think, Jonas and Gabriel found another place to live and Jonas heared the music of church because they may celebrating the "Christmas". In addition, the voices which Jonas supposed are the sound of people who are live in this new place.

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balletsiencelover | Student

Lois Lowry has stated is some of he speches about the book that no they did not die and the were not dreaming, what happened was true, they did get to "Elsewhere". Lois Lowry has said: "I don't know why everyone thinks that they die in the end?"

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onur1tuna | Student

It depends on you because there are two alternatives.

1) they are both alive

2) they died.

I think that they are both alive as they heard the music and people's voices. They have arrived a new community outside the bounds of their's and they are safe from that moment.

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jdingus45 | Student

Jonas and Gabe do not die they go to the land of all memories before recievers were invented. i can tell because on page 104 of the giver the giver says that there is a land of all memories before recievers were invented and when they both get there(Jonas and Gabe) Jonas sees the memory of the sled and the memory of chridtmas from outside a window.

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mandyamibeth14 | Student

Actually, if the pair had died, don't you think that there is still a point of writing the second and the third book. if only you have read the last book (The messenger) Jonas became the Leader in the so called Village wherein, in the last chapter of the first book it is described as a place where there was music and. Gabe too was mentioned and described as "mischievous eight-year-old kid named Gabe". the third book was really good and it joined the three characters. In the memory transmitted to him by the Giver, the part wherein there was a sled, he said something about seeing beyond. In my OWN OPINION, this was his own way of seeing-beyond but he didn't realize that he was. it said the he was going to a destination but didn'y know how too. Although he wasn't succesful in the memory but soon enough, i realized what that part meant.

 

In conclusion, THEY DID NOT DIE AT ALL!!

 

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ilyaustinb | Student

I personally think that Jonas did not die, did not dream. He came to the Christmas house in elsewhere that he received a dream about before he left the community.

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lol190 | Student

To shorten and simplify the answer, Lois Lowry never tells us that Jonas and Gabriel die. She leaves the ending up to the reader. You can assume they die or they stay alive and go to the house. It doesn't matter. By the way, Jonas is not dreaming.

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hamatthews54 | Student

Gabriel and Jonas die together in the snow. The place that Jonas and Gabriel are from is so terrible and horrific that Jonas needs comfort and happiness. They found a better place, in death. They did reach “Elsewhere.” Jonas thought that Elsewhere was a good place where people went when they were released. I had though about it and come to a conclusion that “Elsewhere” is death. Death is where people go when they are released. Gabriel and Jonas reached death which I believe was “Elsewhere.”

 

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kyla231 | Student

In the last book, Messenger, Jonas is the "leader" of Village he sees on the hill and it randomly mentions an 8 year old named Gabe who I presume is Gabriel. I know it is Jonas because in the book it gives soooo many "clues". Jonas say his first knowing or whatever was from an apple, he arrived on a sled which is in a muesium in Village, it says he arrived when there was snow, it describes him using his powers to see beyond, and his blue eyes, and a lot more.

I don't recommend reading Messenger, it was not a very good book. It was pretty piontless although it did answer some confusion.

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mwurbaniak1 | Student

I believe that they die. It says in the final chapter that, "they were waiting for him and that they too, were waiting for the baby" i believe that he is refering to all the people from the community that has been released in the past and the place he was in was heaven.

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b0rn-confus3d | Student

no, because if you read further in the series....You will learn that in a schoolhouse there is a "mischievous eight-year-old kid named Gabe, and that the sled that Jonas and Gabe road on in the end became a symbol of courge and hope in Village (which is the setting of the messenger). Also, you find out that Jonas becomes the leader of Village in the novel the messenger because Lois Lowry describes the color of the leaders eyes as, pale piercing grey......

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rp10 | Student

I know they live because they are in "messenger" the third book in the trilogy. This made me quite happy because I thought they had died because it seemed like they were dying of hypothermia. But, they lived and i was happy with that.

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rp10 | Student

no no no no no! they do NOT die together in the snow, and are deffinetly not dreaming. The reason I know they don't die is because they are in messenger (the third book in the trilogy).Gabe is only mentioned once though. He is described as a mischievous eight-year-old (pg.17 in the book).Jonas is reffered to as Leader instead of well, Jonas. You know its Jonas because Lois Lowry drops alot of hints. For example, they say thats Leader's arrivle vihicle to Village(the community in this book)was a red sled. So, all in all They didn't,die and weren't dreaming.

Hope this helped!

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errrick | Student

I think he died because of the lights that he was seeing like the light at the end of the tunnel and the joy and happiness like heaven and Gabe didn't talk at all in the last part of the book.

I think that was a sad story after all because of the people and supposedly God made life to have joy(I don't actually like believe that)

 

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yeagertrisha65y | Student

I do not think they died becaues they found that house. The house of love with the lights so i think he did not die. I think he is not dreaming. But it is your ending so you can think what you want to. That is what the authur said at the ending. But it was a really good story. I would read it again if i could.

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sushimaker | Student

I think that Jonas and Gabriel went back to the community in a loop and that the community had changed. I have a few reasons.

1. How did the sled get there? I think the Giver put it there for Jonas

2. There's a climate control. They probably use a dome. In that case they wont be able to get out.

3. Death is sad. I am optimistic

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dbuona | Student

Jonah and Gabriel definitely live. In Chapter 12 Jonas wakes up to the recently given memory of the sled going down the hill, and he talks about a "something", a destination that he can't get to but lies just beyond the thickness of the snow.

Chapter 23 ends with him walking past that thickness, claiming to hear music and see lights.

I personally think Jonas's dream from Chapter 12 is his "seeing beyond." It's not just seeing colors or hearing music, its seeing the future.

Remember, the Giver doesn't leave with Jonas because he sees a future where he can help the community and free them from their malaise after Jonas's escape. That was his "seeing beyond."

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kaloykoy | Student

I don't like long answers so i'll try making it short.

It's obvious that's its a positive ending because:

-The author believe it's a positive ending.

-There are two other books accompanied by the Giver.

-Your a pessimistic when you think of the ending as death when the story's ending is unfinished.Or just lazy to make up your own ending.

There's a lot of percentage that he is not dreaming bcoz some/most or mayb all of his memory faded.

 

 

 

Ps: before anyone rate this thing.

 

Read the Chapter when before-during when he leaves the community...

Try to find any word related to music and you would clearly know what happened at the end...

 

 

But the ending is up to you...

Authors made this ending so that they could try/help you make up story(not make up lies) and improve your imagination. (a best way to improve your lie...juk  ^_^)

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fresh2damaxx | Student

YESSSS LET'S GO LULU, i do NOT want to read a full essay for an answer.

and, btw, i believe jonas goes to elsewhere.

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vtown2015 | Student

I think that Jonas and Gabe die. Lowry did say that she wanted readers to interpret the ending in their own way, but she didn't think they died. I dont really know any other explanation. I have not read the sequel. I've heard that it isn't based on Jonas and Gabe, why do you think Lowry made it this way? How much does it talk about Jonas and Gabe? Is it a good explanation to the ending of The Giver?

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karmen96332 | Student

Jonas lives, and Gabriel lives too (i think) because in the Messenger (3rd book of triology) Jonas appears again as a young adult, as the leader. Gabriel lives too because in the end, the book says that the people were waiting for the baby, too.

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jake-n-bake | Student

Gabe and jonas live, it made me cry the first time i read the book cause i thought that they died.

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heart-breaking | Student

I think personaly that they die because in the situation they're in doesn't seem very likely to survive. When I finished the book i imagined Jonas and Gabe on the hill Gabe has already passed. While Jonas is freezing to death he imagines his first memory filled with joy. Remembering snow and lights and his most loved memories. So personaly i think they die. Very few people in my grade has read this book at my school. So i don't have many people to discuss it with.

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loveyourself4ever | Student

What every one said was true, but you should read it for yourself because the ending was so great and well written.

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winniebabyyy | Student

read the 2nd book it only says one sentence about them but it does say the answer(:

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mlack | Student

i dont think they die because they are two other books

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nessajean1982 | Student

It is strongly implied that Jonas finds a new village and drives forward with Gabe to the village. While the book doesn't end IN the village, Jonas and Gabe are very close to it. They can hear music, see lights, and they are at the top of the hill that will bring them down to the village. After such a long journey, I can't imagine that Jonas would want to go anywhere except to a place where Gabe and he can learn more and enjoy new experiences.

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nomadpenguin | Student

jonas founds a village.  in the following books, Gathering Blue and Messenger, he is not refered to as jonas, but Leader.  you can tell it is jonas, because Leader has pale eyes like jonas.  he also talks about how he escaped from the community.  nothing is said about Gabe though.  i assume he is livin somewhere in jonas's village

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lexi515 | Student

Well, if you think about it. Using religion logic. They end up "elsewhere" on Christmas Day. Jonas has a baby that everyone was waiting for so (if your catholic/christian) you can use the perspective that Gabriel is baby Jesus. The baby that everyone was waiting for. And in a way i guess Jonas is Joseph showing him off for all people to see. That's the way i see it anyway. Hope i helped:)

 

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daddysgirl1437 | Student

In my opinion I think that Jonas is like falling unconcious to his death because of the cold and while this is happening Gabe and himself r being welcomed to a better place. So yeah, I think they died! 

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mimizsweet | Student

i think that they lived

                         1. because in the first memory jonas had that aching feeling that something lay beyond that hill.

                       2. he lost all of his memories so how could he get them back?

                     3. because in the messenger the characters of gabriel and jonas showed up again

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y66k | Student

I think the ending is ambiguous and i believe the live because in the next book called Gathering Blue Kira the main character sees a pale eyed boy which Lois lowry says you can decide if it is jonas or gabe

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bulletman | Student
its really up to us the readers to decide. so your right and wrong at the same time messyjames1
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kaybo | Student

Honestly, i do not think Jonas and Gabe died. Seriously, it might just be my optimistic slef saying that they didnt but i just think its too sad to be the ending. I just finished the book today, and absolutly loved it. I dont know if i have read a better book, it was very well thought out and got me thinking, what if our world was really like this? What if we really didnt have any memories, or our own grandparents? What if after we got our own life we never saw our parents again? I think that Lois Lowry wouldnt have left the ending like that if she wanted them to be gone. I think she would have just killed them off and told you so. I honestly did not want them to die. I was very attached to the book and didnt want it to end. I have already started reading Gathering Blue and am very into it. I really hope that like everyone has told me it mentions Jonas and Gabe. I do not think they are dead also becuase it just seems to obvious. I always pverthink things and it might be because of that but anywho I think they found a new home in Elsewhere, a new life, and a new, family. Maybe Jonas might even get to go back to jis community and see The Giver again, but I would rather The Giver get to go see his daughter, Rosemary. I was very surprised when I found out she was his daughter. I had no idea and dint even think about it. I was so glad when Jonas took off with Gabe, i almost cried when I found out Gabe was going to get released.

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andi5213 | Student

As someone else had mentioned Jonas and Gabriel are mentioned in the third novel The Messenger,  and are alive and well. But, based on the ending of The Giver alone, I would like to believe that it in a a loose way the "second coming" it is after all Christmas, and they are "waiting for Jonas and the child too.  And as we see in the Messenger, a new "wordl" is created.   I think Lowery meant it be an optimistic ending. 

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izerdem | Student

I think they are went back to their community again. They ride , ride and ride they did not know they were going to their community, but now it is changed because they have all of Jonas's memories.

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mylifeisasong | Student

I know that Jonas and Gabriel are not dead because they show up again in Messenger, the third book in this loose trilogy. However, if I did not know that, I would probably believe that they died. If Elsewhere really is a place where people "go" when they are released, maybe he has reached Elsewhere because he is dead. I'd like to think that he's found peace and happiness, wherever he is.

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totallybooklover | Student

I think that he did actually die at the end.. which is quite disapointing... if he actually did live I think that the next book would most likely have to be about him and Gabriel in Elsewhere instead of talking about COMPLETELY different characters......

 

hope this is helpful!!!

:)

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eboyas | Student

This is an interesting topic. Did you know that there are sequels to this book? (and a prequel) I've never read them, but from what I understand, they don't talk a whole lot about Jonas.

I have my students write an alternate ending every year when we study the book; they love it. I, myself, prefer to allow for many different endings.

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snowfairy12 | Student

Jonas lives, and Gabriel lives too (i think) because in the Messenger (3rd book of triology) Jonas appears again as a young adult, as the leader. Gabriel lives too because in the end, the book says that the people were waiting for the baby, too.

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