How do you create a plot line for The Giver?

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A plot diagram is a triangle that includes all of the major components of plot: exposition, rising action, climax, falling action, and resolution.


At the base of the triangle on the left side is the exposition.  Exposition is the beginning of the story, where the setting and characters are established.  This is usually in the beginning of the book.

It was almost December, and Jonas was beginning to be frightened. No. Wrong word, Jonas thought. Frightened meant that deep, sickening feeling of something terrible about to happen. (ch 1, p. 1)

This beginning tells us both about the community, and about Jonas.  It establishes that Jonas is thoughtful and meticulous about language, and that something scary is happening in December.

Rising Action

The rising action is the series of events between the exposition and the climax. In this part of the story, we learn what is happening in the setting and to the characters.  An initial problem, proposed in the exposition, is resolved and more problems are created.

The rising action of this story occurs when Jonas’s problem, what assignment he will be given at the Ceremony of Twelve, is solved.  He is selected as Receiver of Memory.  He begins his training, bringing the new problems of being different than others.  When Jonas asks his parents if they love him, he does not get the reaction he expects.

There was an awkward silence for a moment. Then Father gave a little chuckle. "Jonas. You, of all people. Precision of language, please!" (ch 12, p. 127)

Jonas is surprised, and he further differentiates himself by lying to his parents when they ask him if he understands why he should not use the word love.


The climax is one event or a series of closely related events.  The climax of a story is the most interesting point, where the story comes to a turning and everything changes.  In this case, it is when Jonas sees a video of his father murdering a newborn baby.

He killed it! My father killed it! Jonas said to himself, stunned at what he was realizing. He continued to stare at the screen numbly. (ch 20, p. 150)

At this point, Jonas realizes that something in the community is very wrong.  He can no longer look at his father, or anyone else, the same way.  It is at this point that he decides to leave.

Falling Action

The falling action is events between the climax and the resolution.  This is when characters are dealing with the effects of the climax.  The original conflict is resolved, but sometimes there are new ones.  Jonas and The Giver make plans to escape in the falling action.

"So if you escape, once you are gone—and, Jonas, you know that you can never return—" (ch 20, p. 155)

Jonas plans to escape, and thinks he has plenty of time.  Then he finds out that Gabe is scheduled to be released, and has to run away earlier.


The resolution is the ending of the story.  In some cases, it is not completely clear.  In this story, we do not really know what happens to Jonas and Gabriel.

Behind him, across vast distances of space and time, from the place he had left, he thought he heard music too. But perhaps it was only an echo. (ch 23, p. 188)

Did they die or live?  It’s up to you to decide with this ambiguous ending.

Lowry, Lois (1993-04-26). The Giver (Newbery Medal Book). Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. Kindle Edition.

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