In The Giver, what problem does the main character face in the story and how is the problem solved?

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litteacher8 | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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In The Giver by Lois Lowry the main character is twelve year old Jonas.  The major problem that he faces is that he is given a prestigious apprenticeship where he learns secret information about his society, and then he realizes that his people are doing terrible things in order to keep everyone comfortable.

When Jonas is chosen Receiver of Memory, he is just as ignorant and ambivalent as the rest of the people in his community.  He begins to learn the truth about mankind and the past when he receives memories of war, hunger, pain and suffering from The Giver.

When Jonas comes upon Asher playing a war game, he simply cannot look at the game the same way after experiencing a memory of real war.

In his mind, Jonas saw again the face of the boy who had lain dying on a field and had begged him for water. He had a sudden choking feeling, as if it were difficult to breathe. (p. 134)

So Jonas’s new problem becomes that he knows more than everyone else, and no longer seems to fit in.  When Jonas asks to see the release of the newchild it is out of curiosity, but it changes him forever as “he saw the face of the lighthaired, bloodied soldier as life left his eye” (p. 150).

The memory came back. He killed it! My father killed it! Jonas said to himself, stunned at what he was realizing. He continued to stare at the screen numbly. (p. 150)

From that point on, Jonas has to both save Gabriel, who is scheduled to be released, and to return the community to sanity by releasing the memories back to them.


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