The Giver Summary & Study Guide includes comprehensive information and analysis to help you understand the book. This study guide contains the following sections:
This detailed literature summary also contains Bibliography and a Free Quiz on The Giver by Lois Lowry.
When The Giver was first published in 1993, Lois Lowry was already a previous Newbery Medal winner (for her 1989 World War II novel, Number the Stars). She was also widely admired and greatly appreciated by an avid following of young readers for her comic series of Anastasia books. The Giver was immediately recognized as a very special novel. It too won the Newbery Medal. And a large number of commentators concluded that it was the best book Lowry had written.
Lowry's other work is mostly grounded in the cut and thrust of family life. The narrative of The Giver, because of the futuristic and allegorical themes in the novel, is a considerably more Spartan affair. Readers are made immediately aware that they are in the realm of fabulous rather than realistic fiction, and that Jonas is the principle player in a moral fable with political and social overtones.
Lowry spent a good part of her childhood living near the Amish people of Pennsylvania. Later she moved to Tokyo and lived in an American compound within the City. Both experiences seem to have made her suspicious of attempts by communities to protect a rigid self-identity. She is careful in The Giver to make the community she is describing extremely plausible. From many points of view, it represents a well-managed social order. But as the reader discovers, along with Jonas, more and more about the principles on which that social order is based-infanticide, enforced euthanasia-it becomes impossible to read the novel as anything other than a savage critique of such systems.
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Transcript of Introduction to The Giver by Lois Lowry
Anticipating* the Novel
Lois Lowry was inspired to write
after visiting her father in a nursing home.
Her father was suffering with memory loss. When she thought about this, she considered how nice it would be to forget some memories. On the other hand, there are some memories that should never be forgotten!
- a boy turning twelve
- the person who holds the memories of the world
- a baby Jonas grows to love, called Gabe
- Jonas’s father
- Jonas’s mother
- Jonas’s younger sister
- Jonas’s best friend
- Jonas’s friend
- a woman in the House of the Old
- the leader of the community
Introducing our Characters
The Giver is a
adolescent novel by Lois Lowry.
It is set in a society which is, at first, presented as a utopian society and gradually appears more and more dystopian. The novel follows a boy named Jonas through the twelfth year of his life. The society has eliminated pain and strife by converting* to "Sameness," a plan that has also eradicated* emotional depth from their lives.
Dystopian vs. Utopian
is a perfect world.
In utopias, there are not problems like war, disease, poverty, oppression, discrimination, inequality, and so forth.
The word 'utopia' was made up from Greek root meaning "
is a world in which nothing is perfect.
The problems that plague our world are often even more extreme in dystopias.
Dystopia is a play on the word 'utopia' using the prefix '
,' which means '
bad or difficult
Words like 'dysfunctional' or 'dyslexia' illustrate the use of this prefix.
Read Biography and Complete Questions over Lois Lowry!
About Lois Lowry
How would you describe a perfect world?
What would you be willing to sacrifice to live in this perfect world?
Study the Cover of the book
An interview with the author
by Lois Lowry
Anticipate: to expect or look ahead to (something) with pleasure : to look forward to (something)
What do you think the title might mean?
Look at the picture.
Describe the man.
What might his facial expression show?
Did you notice the torn photo?
No Independence or free-thinking
So, without further adieu...
* Convert - (v) cause to change in form, character, or function
* Eradicate - (v) destroy completely; put an end to