The Giver Characters

  • Jonas, a sensitive, thoughtful boy chosen to become the Receiver of Memory.
  • The Giver, the elderly Receiver of Memory, who becomes Jonas' mentor and confidante.
  • Gabriel, a baby boy scheduled to be “released,” or euthanized.
  • Jonas’s father, a Nurturer, who cares for infants before they are either assigned families or "released."
  • Asher and Fiona are Jonas’s friends. Both of them are kind, friendly, and well-adjusted.

Character Overview

(Beacham's Guide to Literature for Young Adults)

The protagonist of The Giver is a twelve-year-old boy named Jonas who, early in the novel, is assigned to become the community's new "Receiver of Memory." Jonas has been concerned about finding a proper niche in his society because he has previously enjoyed working in a variety of settings and does not just have just one area of interest. Jonas is introspective, constantly thinking about society and his place in it. Jonas is one of a few members of the community with light eyes and, it turns out, with the ability to, for brief moments, see colors.

Privy to information that no other citizen has because of his new assignment, Jonas finds himself questioning the world in which he has been raised. Like his father, Jonas has a nurturing side and comes to care for the infant, Gabriel, whom his family temporarily has taken in, sharing the memories he has received from the Giver to calm Gabriel. It is because of his love for Gabriel that Jonas leaves the community before the time that he and the Giver have planned.

The other significant character in the novel is the Giver, the previous Receiver of Memory, who, somewhat mystically, has been given memories of war, pain, joy, color, light, and music, all from a time before the community existed. Although he is learned (he is the only one allowed to read books), he is actually cynical about the community. His own daughter, Rosemary, has previously had Jonas's assignment and, because of the pain it involved and...

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