Key Plot Points

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While we recommend reading Lowry’s The Giver in its entirety, we understand that your classroom may have time constraints. The following Key Plot Points are meant to guide you and your students to the most relevant parts of the text so you can plan your lessons most efficiently. 

Jonas’s Family Shares Their Feelings (Chapter 1): Jonas is an eleven-year-old boy, known as an “Eleven,” living in a carefully organized community. At dinner with his parents and sister, the family follows protocol and shares their feelings. Jonas’s father is a Nurturer and worries about a child, Gabriel, whom he will bring home to care for during the night. Jonas’s mother works at the Department of Justice and feels frightened and guilty that she has to release a repeat offender. Jonas shares that he is apprehensive about the approaching Ceremony of Twelve, in which the community will give him his designated career. 

The Apple Flickers Red (Chapter 3): When Jonas’s father brings Gabriel home, Lily notices his funny, light eyes. When Lily’s ribbons come undone, Jonas worries that the Speaker will remind her to keep them tied. This prompts him to remember a time when he was reprimanded by the Speaker for bringing home an apple that he was playing with. He was curious about the apple, because it appeared to mysteriously “change” while he was playing with it. 

Jonas Feels Stirrings (Chapter 5): When Jonas’s family wakes in the morning, they undergo another community ritual in which they share their dreams. Jonas shares a dream set in the House of the Old, where he had volunteered the previous day with his friend Fiona. He describes trying to get Fiona to take a bath and having a profound feeling of “wanting.” Jonas’s mother explains that these are “Stirrings” and Jonas is required to report them. He is also required to take a pill to prevent them. 

Jonas Is Selected as Receiver (Chapter 8): At the Ceremony of Twelve, the Chief Elder announces that Jonas has been selected as the new Receiver of Memory, due to his integrity, courage, and “Capacity to See Beyond.” Jonas learns that he will take lessons with the current Receiver, one of the Elders. 

Jonas’s Rules Change (Chapter 9): After the ceremony, Jonas receives a new set of rules associated with his designation as Receiver. He is permitted to ask any adult any question, and he need not worry about being rude to others nor share his dreams in the mornings. Alarmingly, he also learns that he is allowed to lie. This causes him to consider if other adults in the community have the permission to lie, too. 

Jonas’s Training Begins (Chapter 10): During their first meeting together, the Elder explains that Jonas is the Receiver, and he is to be known as Giver. He tells Jonas that the job of Receiver is to carry the collective memories of the past for the community. 

Jonas Receives His First Memories (Chapter 11): To illustrate the joys and challenges of carrying memories, the Giver gives Jonas the memory of riding a sled in the snow. He also shares with Jonas the memory of a sunburn. Jonas learns that the community has implemented Climate Control and Sameness, policies that limit the life experience of its citizens. 

Jonas Considers the Value of Choices (Chapter 13): Now that Jonas understands that the Capacity to See Beyond is the ability to see color, he considers the way in which his community limits his ability to make choices, such as selecting the color of his shirt. Jonas tries to share memories of color with his friend Asher, but fails. Jonas also learns about more painful, complex memories, such as elephant poaching. 

Jonas Transmits Memories to Gabriel (Chapter 14): Jonas continues to receive more painful memories, those of broken bones and famine. Back at home, Jonas’s father explains that part of his job is to release infants that are unfit for the community. Jonas asks if Gabriel can sleep in his bedroom and transmits pleasant memories to him when he fusses at night. 

Jonas Learns About the Failed Receiver (Chapter 18): Jonas asks the Giver about “release.” The Giver explains that ten years ago, there had been another 12-year-old selected as Receiver of Memory, a girl named Rosemary. After receiving memories of emotional pain, Rosemary applied for release, causing the memories she possessed to be released among the community. 

Jonas Watches His Father Perform a Release (Chapter 19): The Giver tells Jonas that they can watch the release that Jonas’s father performed earlier that day. Jonas realizes that “release” is actually death by lethal injection and is outraged. 

Jonas and the Giver Plan His Escape (Chapter 20): Jonas and the Giver decide it is time for the community to change and make a plan for Jonas to escape during the December Ceremony. Because there are no other children ready to be selected as a new Receiver, the citizens in the community will have to experience the memories that are released when Jonas departs. 

Jonas and Gabriel Flee (Chapter 21): Jonas learns that Gabriel is scheduled to be released because he is still unable to sleep through the night without Jonas. Jonas takes the child and flees the community on his bicycle. He travels by night and sleeps by day in order to avoid the search planes from the community. 

Jonas and Gabriel Arrive Elsewhere (Chapter 23): As the landscape changes, Joseph and Gabriel find themselves surrounded by snow. Either in truth or in his mind’s eye, Jonas finds the sled that the Giver originally shared with him through memories. He then makes his own memory, riding the sled towards a cozy home, hearing music within. 

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History of the Text