Cover image of The Giver Themes Lesson Plan

The Giver Themes Lesson Plan

by eNotes

  • Release Date: April 22, 2019
  • Subjects: Language Arts and Literature
  • Age Levels: Grade 10, Grade 11, Grade 12, and Grade 9
  • Pages: 23
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Document Details


Theme Developed Through Motif:

This lesson focuses on how Lowry employs color as a motif in developing major themes in the novel. Students will identify examples of color in the novel, place them in the context of Jonas’s experiences, describe the connotations of each color in context, and determine ideas suggested by the connotations. In studying the color motif, students will be better able to identify and describe themes in the novel.

Learning Objectives: 
By the end of this lesson, students will be able to

  • define and explain denotation and connotation;
  • define and explain motif as a literary device;
  • analyze and interpret examples of color in the text and their connotations;
  • draw themes from the text suggested by the color motif.

Skills: close reading; analysis; drawing inferences from text; supporting interpretations with textual evidence; identifying themes in a text

Common Core Standards: RL.9-10.1; RL.9-10.2; RL.9-10.4; RL.9-10.5

Introductory Lecture: 

Imagine living in a utopia, a place without hunger, poverty, crime, natural disasters, or war. Imagine being free of even mundane annoyances, like litter in the streets or babies crying in the night. In The Giver, Lois Lowry presents readers with a seemingly utopian community; human suffering is unknown in the community because all memories of life as it had once existed have been obliterated—for everyone except the Receiver of Memory. Set in the undefined future, the story follows Jonas, a boy the Elders designate upon his twelfth birthday to be the community’s next Receiver.

Unfamiliar with the position, Jonas begins his apprenticeship with the community’s present Receiver, an elderly man Jonas comes to know as the Giver, as he will give memories to Jonas. As Jonas experiences the collective memories which the rest of the community’s citizens are denied, he learns the price he has paid for the organized, predictable, pleasant childhood he has enjoyed. He learns of cold and color, warmth and warfare, love and loneliness. Most critically for Jonas, he learns of the routine atrocities committed by those closest to him—without their understanding the evil nature of their acts—in order to preserve the calm equilibrium of the community.

Told through Lowry’s simple, elegant prose, Jonas’s experiences suggest profound questions regarding universal human experience. Are the pleasures in life worth the suffering that life also includes? Is life worth living without personal freedom? Should one refuse to submit to an authoritarian government, regardless of the consequences? Are evil acts to be tolerated if they are mandated by the government and accepted by society at large? Lowry addresses these questions through Jonas’s coming of age, while never doubting her young readers’ ability to appreciate them. After publishing The Giver in 1993, Lowry received in 1994 the American Library Association’s Newberry Medal, an annual award that honors “the most distinguished contribution to American literature for children.” 

Since its publication to both popular and critical acclaim, The Giver has sold over five million copies and has been incorporated into many middle school and high school English curriculums; it also appears in many academic reading lists, along with such works as “The Ones Who Walk Away from Omelas,” 1984, Fahrenheit 451, and Brave New World. However, unlike some works in the dystopian canon, The Giver arguably lends itself to hope for humankind in the future. While Jonas’s ultimate survival remains ambiguous at the end of the novel, his evolving personal relationship with the Giver and the tenderness he feels for baby Gabriel serve as a testament to the redemptive power of human connectedness and love.


Our eNotes Essential Lesson Plans have been developed to meet the demanding needs of today’s educational environment. Each lesson incorporates collaborative activities with textual analysis, targeting on discrete learning objectives. The main components of each plan include the following:

  • An introduction to the text
  • A step-by-step guide to lesson procedure
  • A previous and following lesson synopsis for preparation and extension ideas
  • A collection of handouts and worksheets complete with answer keys

Each of these comprehensive plans focuses on promoting meaningful interaction, analytical skills, and student-centered activities, drawing from the Common Core Standards for English Language Arts and the expertise of classroom teachers.

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