The Giver Themes

  • In The Giver, the ability and the desire to remember are defining characteristics. Jonas' people have, as a society, decided to all but expunge the past, giving all memories of war, pain, color, and joy to the Receiver of Memory for safekeeping. This strips people of their communal past, making it impossible for them to remember what life was like before their memories were stolen.
  • Conformity fuels Jonas' supposedly utopian society. Children are not "born" to their parents, but assigned to them, and the state delegates jobs to its citizens rather than allowing them to choose. By stripping people of their freedom (and all their memories of freedom), the government creates a dystopian society.
  • The Giver is a coming of age story in which the young, innocent Jonas is exposed to the hidden horrors of his perfect world. His personal growth has both moral and psychological implications. In the end, Jonas must decide whether society as he knows it should be destroyed. Readers are left to wonder whether his decision has a positive effect on the community.


(Novels for Students)

Coming of Age
A key characteristic of the particular community Lowry has created is the annual ritual in December when each year...

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