Topics for Discussion
1. Discuss whether the music Jonas hears and the lights he sees at the very end of the novel are real. How are we supposed to read the ending? Do you think Jonas finally reaches a safe place?
2. How do Jonas's attitudes about the community change during the course of the novel? Why do the Giver and Jonas decide that Jonas should leave the community?
3. What does the novel suggest about the importance of being able to make choices, regardless of the consequences?
4. Why does the Giver feel that Rosemary was brave?
5. How is it that Jonas's father, who seems so sensitive to children, is able to perform "releases" so easily?
6. What would be the benefits of living in Jonas's community? What does Lowry suggest that the community has given up in order to be safe?
7. How is language used to control the behavior of community members?
8. How does Lowry manage to create suspense in this novel?
9. Discuss the memories that Jonas acquires from the Giver. How do they change him? Is Lowry really suggesting that we would be better off without painful memories?
10. Discuss Lowry's use of community holidays, especially the Ceremony of Twelve. How does this celebration differ from the memory of Christmas, which Jonas receives from the Giver and which sustains him when he escapes?
11. Why does Jonas empathize with Gabriel? What is it about the infant that makes Jonas further risk his life by prematurely leaving the compound?
12. In Chapter Nine, Jonas receives a list of instructions associated with his new Assignment, including the statement that he may lie. How does this statement affect Jonas and what role does it have in his changing attitude towards the community?
13. Why has the Giver not previously made an effort to stand up to the community? Why does he now decide to help Jonas?
14. Why do you suppose Jonas was selected as the new Receiver of Memory? What qualities or characteristics does he have that might have influenced the committee's decision?