Discussion Topic

Jonas and Gabe's destination in The Giver

Summary:

Jonas and Gabe's destination in The Giver is a place called "Elsewhere." This represents a place beyond the restrictive society they fled, symbolizing freedom, hope, and the possibility of a new beginning where emotions and memories are fully experienced.

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In The Giver, where did Jonas take Gabe?

When Jonas found out that Gabe was to be "released" (killed) because he did not sleep through the night, he decided to leave the Community with Gabe, in order to save him. Jonas thought that he could get to Elsewhere, which is never really defined, but seems to be where things were not controlled as they were where Jonas and his family lived. Jonas had planned on obtaining more memories from the Giver in order to help him leave with Gabe, but then had to rely on what he had already. The ending is unclear...Jonas and Gabe either reached Elsewhere, or they froze to death. I have read interviews with Lois Lowry, the author, who said she had no intention of implying the two froze to death. I guess everyone takes what they believe from the book.

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Where did Jonas take Gabe?

I assume that you are talking about where Jonas takes Gabe at the end of the book.  Basically, he takes Gabe away from the community where they have lived all their lives.  He sneaks him very far (we do not know how far) away, until they get to the point where, it is implied, they have come to the border between the community and "elsewhere."

When they get there, Jonas finds the sled from his "memory" and starts down the hill with Gabe.  We do not know what they will find down there, but they are definitely headed for "elsewhere."

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Where do Jonas and Gabe end up in The Giver?

Jonas and Gabe escape to Elsewhere, leaving the community.

When Jonas finds out that Gabe is going to be released, he has to take action.  He grabs the baby and goes on the run at night.  He and The Giver had been planning to have Jonas escape, to return the memories to the community, but the planned release of Gabe moves up the timetable.  Jonas has to do it on his own, before he is completely ready.

He takes his father’s bicycle, because it has a way to carry Gabe.  To escape, he must leave the community and go well into the outskirts of what the people call "Elsewhere."  To Jonas’s people, Elsewhere is both a metaphorical concept and an actual place.  When someone dies he or she goes to Elsewhere, but any place but the community is technically Elsewhere.

Jonas and The Giver discussed the possibility of what would happen to the community if Jonas succeeded in getting away.

"If you get away, if you get beyond, if you get to Elsewhere, it will mean that the community has to bear the burden themselves, of the memories you had been holding for them….”  (Ch. 20)

Jonas too has to be prepared.  The Giver transmits to him memories of courage, warmth, and strength to prepare him for his journey.  He cannot go, because he will need to help the people when Jonas is gone and the memories return to them.  They will have no idea how to handle it, and will need his guidance. 

Jonas is hunted by search planes, which use heat sensors to try to find him.  He uses the memories to cool his and Gabe’s temperatures.  He falls on his bike, twisting an ankle.

Jonas moves from a landscape of Sameness close to the community to one that is at first beautiful and then harsh.  He has to deal with streams and hills, and then snow and cold.  He has never seen wildflowers and birds before, and the beauty of it awes him.  Yet as things get more and more treacherous, it gets harder to be sustained by the memories.

The ending of the book is somewhat ambiguous, meaning that it is not clear exactly what happens.  It seems that Jonas and Gabriel either die or escape at a house where there is singing.  What seems suspicious about this is that several things about incident appear to be out of Jonas’s memories.  He encounters snow, a sled, and a house he seems to recognize.  However, it never says that he recognizes the house specifically from an earlier memory, only that he recognizes houses.

[He] could see lights, and he recognized them now. He knew they were shining through the windows of rooms, that they were the red, blue, and yellow lights that twinkled from trees in places where families created and kept memories, where they celebrated love. (Ch. 23)

This could mean that they are rescued, or that Jonas has slipped into a coma.  If this was the only book, and there were no sequels, we would have no other information.  Jonas himself seems to be passing out at the end of the book, interpreting the music as “it was only an echo” (Ch. 23).  Ended that, he seems to have died.  However, he also could have been rescued.  Just at there, there is no way to know.

Jonas makes a harrowing journey to save young Gabe's life, and out of the commitment to save his people from a life of Sameness.  Whether you believe Jonas lived or not (sequels aside), one thing is clear.  Jonas certainly reached Elsewhere, no matter how you define it: place or death.

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In the book The Giver how do Jonas and Gabe finally get to safety?

Jonas is able to get the infant Gabriel and himself to the safety of a village outside the community where Sameness is the creed through the powers of his inner strength and, ironically, with the memories provided him by the Giver, and, most importantly, a memory that is his own.

At first, he must hide with Gabriel from the planes that fly so low he can almost see the pilots' faces; fortunately, these pilots are color-blind, too, so hiding from them is easier than if they could perceive color. Amidst his fears, Jonas delights in the wondrous sights he experiences:  birds soaring overhead, deer, wildflowers, wind shifting through the trees. Against Jonas's terror that he and Gabriel will starve,

[H]e tries to use the flagging power of his memory to recreate meals, and does manage brief tantalizing fragments...

But, he is still left with gnawing hunger, and riding his bicycle becomes a veritable struggle.Finally, as they both suffer from starvation, Jonas feels that Elsewhere is close to them. To prevent Gabriel from freezing to death, he places the child inside his tunic and wraps the meager blanket around them both. As they grow colder, Johans conjures the memory of sunshine and sends warmth through both his body and that of Gabriel who touches him.  However, the memory fades and they are again cold. Still, Jonas perseveres even though he stumbles in the snow. Then, he finds the "sled that was waiting for them at the top of the hill." There is a sense of deja vu in Jonas; he has "a memory of his own" about this place called Elsewhere. He recognizes the Elsewhere that will be "part of their future and their past."

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