What is the setting of the book The Giver?

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The Giver takes place at an undetermined point in the future in a hypothetical society that regulates life so that it is predictable and safe. Jonas lives in a relatively small community by the river. Many of the novel's important events take place in the Annex, where Jonas goes to spend time with the Giver. Jonas also spend time in different municipal buildings and private homes. In the end, Jonas escapes to the boundaries outside of the community, a place called Elsewhere.


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Gretchen Mussey eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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Lois Lowry's celebrated novel The Giver is set in a futuristic dystopian society in a nondescript location where citizens are required to conform to society's standards and must obey government regulations and laws. Jonas's society is depicted as a small, highly organized community, which is founded on the principles of Sameness. Sameness requires uniformity among citizens and completely alters the environment of Jonas’s community.

In the story, scientists have successfully controlled the climate, made colors and music obsolete, and have dramatically transformed the landscape to make transportation more efficient. Jonas's community is also small due to the regulated birth rate, which is determined and controlled by the Committee of Elders. This ruling government body matches spouses, sets the birth rate, creates family units, and chooses occupations for each civilian.

There are several important buildings throughout Jonas's small community, which include the Nurturing Center, the House of the Old, the Rehabilitation Center, the Hall of Open Records, the Auditorium, and the Annex, where Jonas spends his training sessions with the Giver.

As Jonas begins to receive memories from the Giver, he becomes jaded with his oppressive community and desires independence. Jonas learns the importance of individuality and wishes to experience life as originally intended before Sameness. Eventually, Jonas discovers the awful truth about "release" and flees the community with Gabriel.

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Julie Feng eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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The Giver, by Lois Lowry, is set in a futuristic dystopian / utopian society. Based on the evidence in the text, the place where Jonas lives seems to be a fairly small community. The community is by a river, which comes up often in the plot (at one point, a four year old boy name Caleb drowns in the river). 

The various places within the community include: 

The Nursery, the Nurturing Center, the Childcare Center, the Department of Justice, the school, the fish hatchery, the House of the Old, the Rehabilitation Center, the Hall of Open Records, the Hall of Closed Records, the Auditorium (where public events are held, such as the ceremony of twelves), and various family houses (called units or dwellings).

Also, there is a Annex, where the Giver / Receiver lives. It is special and noteworthy because it is the only place in the entire community that has locks on the doors, indicating the Giver / Receiver's unique status in the community. 

A VERY important setting is also "Elsewhere," which is what the members of this community call anywhere that is beyond the community. At the very end of the novel, Jonas escapes the community and supposedly makes it to the mysterious "Elsewhere."

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jilllessa eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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The setting of the book is a managed community in a futuristic society.  Jonas lives in a place where everything is regulated so that the unexpected never happens.  In Jonas' society everybody has the perfect family unit, the perfect job, and even perfect weather.  The book opens as Jonas is approaching 12 years old and waiting to find out what his adult career assignment will be.

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user7870940 | Student

The setting of the giver is a community in which everything is uniform and everyone is assigned to everything in life and all rules are followed. 

mrs-k | Student

The setting of The Giver has no specific time frame given, it is however a futuristic setting that is almost surreal.  The setting of the homes gives the impression that every home is the same with no change in the environment.  It is one that is so still it seems almost as if no changes in weather exist, however if one is to leave the society one will encounter an environment that is so desolate it makes survival seem almost impossible.

ik9744 | Student

The setting was in a community with no colors, emotion, etc. Basically taking their rights away if they can't pick their jobs too.

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lapao | Student

the nurturing center

the house of old}

the comunity

the ceremony of twelve

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