The Giver Analysis

  • Some consider The Giver to be an allegory of Anabaptist and Amish communities. The society Lowry depicts shares many qualities with these groups; in the end, Lowry suggests that the uniformity imposed by these groups is a danger to individuality.
  • The Giver tackles the controversial issue of euthanasia. In Jonas's society, infants are sometimes “released,” or euthanized, ostensibly for their benefit. The novel as a whole seems to take a stand against euthanasia.
  • Colors are powerful symbols of life in The Giver. When Jonas sees the color red for the first time, he is opened up to a new world of sensations and emotions.

Analysis

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Last Updated on June 5, 2020, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 507

Narration and Point of View

The Giver is told from a third-person limited point-of-view. Through this perspective, the reader gains direct information about Jonas’s thoughts, feelings, and personal memories, as well as general knowledge about the community’s rules and practices. This style of narration is very important for understanding how some of the novel’s present actions mirror actions in the past. Two examples are the Ceremony of Loss, which involves repeating the name of the deceased with less frequency and volume until there is only silence, and the Murmur-of-Replacement Ceremony, which is the opposite. The novel has very little descriptive imagery and instead focuses on actions, dialogue, and Jonas’s inner thoughts The novel is told from Jonas’s perspective, and since Jonas does not know that there can be varied appearances or that color exists, the text does not describe things with vivid or colorful language.

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Setting and Style

The novel takes place in an unnamed community where everyone is clothed, fed, comfortable, and virtually everyone appears to be satisfied with their lives. The community has no clear real-world analogue, though some of the memories that the Giver transfers to Jonas reflect American culture. This connection can be seen in the Christmas celebration and in the war memory, which resembles the American Civil War. (The dying boy Jonas sees in this memory is wearing a gray uniform.) Lowry published the novel in the early 1990s and incorporated many controversial topics, such as euthanasia, abortion, and assisted suicide. Because The Giver includes topics like suicide and sexual maturation, it has been frequently banned in schools and libraries while at the same time being formally recognized for its contribution to children’s literature.

Because of...

(The entire section contains 507 words.)

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Style, Form, and Literary Elements