THE GIVER- CHARACTERS
Characters in chapters 1-6
The characters we are introduced to in chapters 1-6 are Jonas, Lily, Mother, Father, Asher, Fiona,
Larissa, Edna, Roberto, Gabriel, Phillipa (Asher’s sister), and Caleb.
JONAS
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12 years old (11 at the beginning of the novel)
Assignment- The Receiver of Memory
Has one younger sister, Lily
Jonas is an inquisitive and gifted young boy living in the community. He seems quite introverted but
also enjoys socialising with his friend Asher who is the opposite of him; loud and confident. Jonas is
perceived as a mature child and has a very important purpose in life. Jonas can “see beyond and as
the Receiver of Memory he must receive memories of the past, which no longer exist in his ‘perfect’
community. He obtains knowledge in the form of emotions and feelings which the others in his
community are unaware of and have never experienced.
LILY
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7-8 years old
Jonas’ sister
Not yet assigned
Lily is very outgoing and boisterous. She seems to be in a rush to grow up so that she can experience
what the older children do. She enjoys spending time with young children. Lily feels that she faces
many challenges, but in perspective these are petty issues. She is naturally cheerful and sometimes
seems blind to the world. Lily sometimes seems rash and dramatic in her decision making compared
to others in the community. She describes herself as being “very angry” at a boy from another
community who did not obey the community rules when sharing the play area.
ASHER
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12 years old (11 at the beginning of the novel)
Assignment- Director of Recreation
Jonas’ best friend
Asher is confident, friendly and slightly clumsy. He seems to take advantage of being a child and is
content to take his time to grow up. He is lively and is perceived as slightly dopey by others in the
community. He is social and enjoys playing with other children. Asher is often late to school. He
makes many mistakes, particularly with his language. As a result, Asher often finds himself having to
apologise to his friends, teachers and other members of the community for his mistakes. “Jonas was
careful about his language. Not like his friend Asher who talked too fast and mixed things up,
scrambling words and phrases until they were barely recognisable and often very funny.” P14.
FATHER
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Jonas’ father
Age unknown
Assignment- Nurturer
Jonas’ father is a nurturer and dedicates his life to raising and caring for newchildren. He is a kind
and gentle person, but posses knowledge that is secretive and disturbing. Father has the job of
releasing newchildren who don’t meet the community’s standards in terms of their growth and
development.
Characters in chapters 7-15
JONAS
Jonas is unaware and apprehensive about his assignment as Receiver of Memory and what
challenges this will bring. He knows it will require courage, enduring pain, intelligence, integrity and
wisdom. As he begins his training with The Giver he begins to experience feelings, emotions and
colour as memories are transmitted to him. Jonas’ view on life changes as this happens, and he is
exposed to many new experiences such as the sledge ride, snow, cold, warmth, sunburn, war, death,
happiness, sadness and pain.
THE GIVER
The Giver is the current Receiver of Memories and is storing all of the memories of the past on
behalf of the community. The Giver has the most important job in the community and has a lot of
wisdom and life experience. He is highly respected and is sometimes called upon to advise the
Committee of Elders to prevent the community from repeating the mistakes of the past. As a result,
The Giver also experiences much pain: “I am not, actually, as old as I look... this job has aged
me”.p101. The Giver is kind as has much more knowledge than others.
PIERRE
A child in Jonas age group. He is very frantic, serious and worries easily. Jonas does not think he is
much fun: “On his other side sat Twenty, a male named Pierre whom Jonas didn’t like very much.
Pierre was very serious, not much fun, and a worrier and tattletale, too”. P71
CHIEF ELDER
The leader of the community, in charge of the ceremonies. The Chief Elder is switched on, aware,
very professional, optimistic and powerful. She takes her work seriously but also has a sense of
humour: “We did not consider for an instant designating Asher an Instructor of Threes”. P75
Characters in chapters 16-23
The character present in these chapters are: Jonas, The Giver, The Elder, Father, Mother, Lily,
Gabriel, Asher, Fiona, The Speaker, Rosemary and Caleb.
JONAS
Jonas is 12, and then turns 13 in the final chapters of the novel whilst training for the role of
Receiver of Memory. When Jonas sees his father release the twin newchild, he realises that release
means to kill. Jonas character undergoes significant change in his beliefs and mindsets. This is due to
the knowledge he has acquired from receiving the memories. Jonas hears that Gabe is due for
release also, so he escapes with Gabe. “He killed it! My father killed it! Jonas said to himself, stunned
at what he was realising”. P 188.
THE GIVER
The Giver is suffering from the many painful memories he holds. The Giver gives Jonas more and
more memories that are both good and bad. He also helps Jonas to escape from the community.
FATHER
Jonas’ father appears to be a loving man in his job as Nurturer. He is close to Jonas until Jonas
witnesses him performing the release of the twin. After this incident, Jonas does not see his father
in the same light as before.
GABRIEL
Also known as Gabe. He is the newchild that Father brought home from the Nurturing Centre.
Throughout the final chapters Jonas gets Gabriel to sleep successfully by transmitting happy and
peaceful memories to him, at first by accident and after that, intentionally. Jonas learns that Gabriel
is going to be released as he is still not a settled sleeper during the night without Jonas’ happy
memories: “Bye bye to you Gabe in the morning” p207. Gabriel is taken by Jonas as he escapes to
Elsewhere. Gabriel relies on Jonas to survive in the final chapters of the novel.
THE GIVER- EVENTS
Events, chapters 1-6
In chapter one, we meet Jonas and the people close to him- Mother, Father, Lily and Asher.
In chapter two we are introduced to Gabriel, learn more about Jonas and the ceremony of 12. We
begin to learn more about the community, its rules, functions and restrictions.
In chapter three we are given the first insight into Jonas “seeing beyond” with the incident of the red
apple.
In chapter four Jonas goes to the house of old. We are introduced to Fiona, and Jonas bathes Larissa.
He learns that Roberto has been released and we learn more about what takes place when the old
are released.
In chapter five Jonas awakes to a vivid dream in which he was trying to bathe Fiona. Mother informs
him that these are his first “stirrings” and tells him that he must now take a pill each day as all adults
in the community do. We learn that any sexual feelings are forbidden in the community and must be
reported immediately so that they can be suppressed.
In chapter six the first day of the ceremony is described. All children up to Eight are given their
promotions during the first day.
Events, chapters 7-15
In chapter seven it is time for the Twelves to be given their assignments. Asher is assigned Assistant
Director of Recreation, Fiona Caretaker of the Old and Jonas’ number is skipped. “Jonas bowed his
head and searched through his mind. What had he done wrong? P79.
In chapter eight Jonas is selected Receiver of Memory: “Jonas was identified as a possible Receiver
many years ago. We have observed him meticulously. There were no dreams of uncertainty”. P83.
In chapter nine Jonas receives his rules for his new assignment.
In chapter ten Jonas has his first training at the Annexe. He meets the current Receiver and notes
that he looks very old: “The man was wrinkled, and his eyes, though piercing in their unusual
lightness, seemed tired. The flesh around them was darkened into shadowed arches.” P96. They
begin talking and the current Receiver tries to explain to Jonas what the assignment will entail,
however Jonas is confused. They get ready to transmit the first memory.
In chapter eleven Jonas receives his first memory of snow, a sledge and a hill. He also receives a
memory of sunshine as well as his first painful memory of sunburn.
In chapter twelve Jonas sees red in Fiona’s hair and asks The Giver about it. “Our people made that
choice, the choice to go to Sameness. Before my time, before the previous time, back and back and
back. We relinquished colour when we relinquished sunshine and did away with differences”. P124
In chapter thirteen Jonas tries to give Asher colour by showing him flowers but it does not work and
Asher doesn’t like Jonas touching him. Jonas receives the memory of different skin tones as well as
the elephant being killed. He tries to tell Lily that elephants once existed but she doesn’t believe
him. The Giver and Jonas speak about how Jonas’ life is different now and about the Giver’s life. We
learn that some days are too painful for The Giver to train Jonas.
In chapter fourteen Jonas receives the memory of a broken leg. He is hurt but cannot be medicated.
He also receives the memory of hunger. Gabe sleeps in Jonas’ room and Jonas accidentally transmits
the memory of a sail boat to Gabe: “He was not aware of giving the memory; but suddenly he
realised that it was becoming dimmer, that it was sliding through his hand into the being of the
newchild. Gabriel became quiet”. P150.
In chapter fifteen Jonas helps The Giver by taking one of his painful memories away to relieve him. It
is a memory of warfare: “Overwhelmed by pain, he lay there in the fearsome stench for hours,
listened to the men and animals die, and learned what warfare meant”. P 154.
Events, chapters 16-23
In chapter sixteen Jonas receives the memory of Christmas- The Giver’s favourite memory. He
perceives warmth, happiness, family and love and learns about grandparents. He and The Giver talk
about what would happen if everyone knew their grandparents and decide that it wouldn’t work
because by the time the kids apply for their own spouses and children, their parents would not be
involved in their life. Jonas asks The Giver to be his grandparent. He asks his parents if they love him
and they laugh because he is not using precision of language. Gabe goes back to sleeping in Jonas’
room because he cannot sleep without the memories. Jonas stops taking his pill and the stirrings
come back
In chapter seventeen there is an unscheduled holiday. Jonas hasn’t taken his pill for four weeks.
Jonas rides around the community to find Asher. He is playing a game of good guys and bad guys
which Jonas recognises to be a game of war: “He had never recognised it as a game of war”. P169.
Jonas realises he has a depth of feelings now and he and Asher have an argument because Jonas
doesn’t want Asher to play the game any longer. Gabe starts walking and his dad now brings the
discipline wand home. Father says that twins are being born tomorrow and that one of them will be
released because there cannot be identical people in the community.
In chapter eighteen The Giver and Jonas talk about release and about the failure of the last Receiver
ten years earlier. Rosemary was not brave enough. The received memories came back to the
community when she was released, this caused chaos. Jonas finds out that he is the first Receiver
who is not allowed to apply for release.
In chapter nineteen Jonas wants to watch the release of the identical twin being performed by his
father: “I wish I could watch” The Giver encourages Jonas to do so and plays the video of Father
performing the release. Jonas finds out release actually is death and that Father has just killed the
twin. He is shocked and horrified. The Giver tells Jonas that Rosemary applied for release and
performed the lethal injection on herself, rather than having someone do it to her.
In chapter twenty Jonas is somewhat hysteric. He refuses to go home after seeing the release so he
stays with The Giver. They make a plan to escape and Jonas finds out that Rosemary was The Giver’s
daughter.
In chapter twenty one things do not go according to plan. Jonas is forced to flee with Gabe because
he learns that Father is going to release the baby the next morning for his lack of sleep. He steals
Father’s bicycle and rides for a long time. The next morning search planes come using heat-seeking
devices to track down the boys. Jonas uses memories of cold to avoid being caught, transmitting
them to Gabe to cool down their bodies. Eventually the planes stop coming.
In chapter twenty two they ride on. They are getting hungrier and weaker and it starts raining. This
indicates that they are getting away because the weather is no longer controlled. The rain makes
things difficult for them though.
In chapter twenty three it begins to snow. Jonas is worried that they may die and contemplates
giving up due to starvation and exhaustion. Somehow Jonas finds the hill and the sledge from his
memory. The boys get on and begin their journey downhill to their final destination. Jonas sees
Christmas lights and hears music. He feels joy and love and is certain that the music is not only
ahead of them, but also behind from where they came.
THE GIVER- THEMES
Themes, chapters 1-6
RESTRICTION- there are many things that are not allowed in the community. They are very strict and
language is taken seriously: “Distraught is too strong an adjective”. P15.
FEAR- when a plane flies over the community there is a general feeling of fear. There is a fear of the
unknown and of anything that is unusual or different: “Jonas, looking around anxiously, had seen
others… wait, for an explanation of the frightening event”. P12.
APPREHENSION- Jonas is apprehensive about the Ceremony of Twelve and what his future will be:
“I’m feeling apprehensive…it’s the ceremony”.
Themes, chapters 7-15
CONFUSION- there is confusion when Jonas is skipped at the Ceremony of Twelve: “A mistake. She
had made a mistake. But Jonas knew that she hadn’t. The Chief Elder made no mistakes. Not at the
Ceremony of Twelve”.
SHOCK AND AWE- the community is shocked when the Chief Elder announces that Jonas has been
chosen to become the next Receiver: “The sudden intake of breath, drawn sharply in astonishment,
by each of the seated citizens”.
LONELINESS AND ISOLATION- Jonas feels different and alone. His training will keep him away from
the rest of the community: “For the first time in his twelve years of life, Jonas felt separate, different.
His training would be alone and apart”.
Themes, chapters 16-23
LIES AND DECEIT- In chapter twenty Jonas finds out that his father has been lying to him and he also
lies to his parents: “Jonas went home the next morning, cheerfully greeted his parents, and lied easily
about what a busy, pleasant night he had had. His Father smiled and lied easily too, about his busy
and pleasant day the day before”. P 198.
COURAGE- in the final chapters of the book, Jonas escapes from the community knowing that if he
is caught he will be killed. Despite this he takes Gabe with him and takes his chance in order to
hopefully restore feeling and emotion to the community and save Gabe’s life.
DISAPPOINTMENT- Jonas is disappointed that the community is so deceitful and so far from perfect.
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The Giver, B8A characters, themes, events notes collated