Summary of The Giver by Lois Lowry Essay

Lois Lowry wrote her novel The Giver in 1994 and got her second Newbery Medal for it. This book is a reflection on such serious issues as suffering, pain and meaning of memories. She wrote it after her visit to her father in a nursing home and her trip to Germany.

Chapter 1. In this chapter we meet two main  characters ”“Jonas and Asher. Jonas recollects in his memories the event when he has seen an aircraft for the first time a year ago. He was really scared because it was an unusual case.

Aircrafts are not allowed to fly over the community. However, it appeared that it was a mistake made by a training pilot. The speaker at that time said: “For a contributing citizen to be released from the community was a final decision, a terrible punishment, an overwhelming statement of failure” (Lowry, 2). Riding home Jonas tries to find the word to describe the fear he felt then. He is very careful with words, on the contrary to his friend.

Chapter 2. Jonas’ parents talk about usual December Ceremony devoted to all newborn children and Jonas starts thinking about the ceremonies he has attended before. He recollects the ceremony when he became Five and his sister Lily was given to the family. He is worried about his future Assignment. His sister Lily interrupts Jonas and his parents’ conversation and father takes her to her bedroom with her comfort object ”“ an elephant. Every child has such an object.

Chapter 3. A newborn child is accepted in the family unit. Lily immediately notices that he has pale eyes, as well as Jonas does. All the citizens of the community have dark eyes, as a rule. Jonas thinks about noisy Lily and reminds himself of a game with apple.

Chapter 4. Jonas thinks about Benjamin, a male Twelve, who will definitely get his Assignment because of is work at Rehabilitation Center. Jonas arrives in the House of Old where he joins Asher and his female Eleven friend Fiona, who are helping with bathing in their volunteer time.

Chapter 5. The family shares their impressions during the ritual of telling dreams. Jonas tells his family that he had a sexual fantasy about him and Fiona in his dream. Mother says that this phenomenon is called Stirring and every morning Jonas has to take a pill in order to stop these stirrings. All citizens do it.

Chapter 6. Everybody is preparing for the Ceremony. Gabriel’s name is not pronounced among other newborn children because he has not gained enough weight. However, Gabriel, Jonas’s One brother, gets one more year and he is not released from the community. Released members disappear in Elsewhere and nobody sees them again. Lily gets her Eight jacket. Jonas gets worried about his Assignment.

Chapter 7. Jonas is waiting for his turn and Assignment. He is number 19 after Fiona. However, after Fiona’s Assignment Pierre, a boy who should be after Jonas, is called. Jonas is astonished: “He [wants] to disappear, to fade away, not to exist. He [doesn’t] dare to turn and find his parents in the crowd. He [can’t] bear to see their faces darkened with shame” (Lowry, 58).

Chapter 8. Jonas is not assigned, nevertheless, he is chosen to be the next Receiver of Memory ”“ a very rare and respectable position in the community. The Chief Elder explains that Jonas has a Capacity to See Beyond.

Chapter 9. Jonas feels that his position has changed and then from now on he differs from the rest. He gets home and opens his folder with rules that are to follow. He is surprised: he is allowed to lie, not to tell his dreams and even be rude. All the others are never allowed to do such things.

Chapter 10. Jonas’s first training day starts. Jonas comes to the Receiver room and sees an old wrinkled man. This man will transmit Jonas all memories of the past generations.

Chapter 11. The old man, known as the giver, transmits Jonas memories of the snow, the sledge and the hill. Snow memory is very old because now there is Sameness and Climate Control. Then Jonas receives “sunshine” and “sunburn”- memories can be both nice and painful.

Chapter 12. The next morning Jonas lies his mother about his dreams, Everybody at school shares their impressions about the first training day and Jonas is not allowed to do it. Later the Giver explains that Jonas starts recognizing colors in general and red in particular. His teacher explained that colors  existed earlier before Sameness.

Chapter 13. Jonas speaks with the Giver about absence of free choice for common people. However, the Giver explains that it can be dangerous. Jonas gets to know that the role of the Receiver is unique and painful at the same time. He realizes that knows more than other people and it irritates him sometimes.

Chapter 14. This day Jonas has learned the memory of “pain”, then the memory of “starvation” and “hunger”. Gabriel gains weight, however, he still does not sleep peacefully. Jonas’ family is afraid that he will be released. One night Jonas stays with him and unconsciously transmit his memory of calmness.

Chapter 15. Jonas gets knowledge about unusual and very painful experience and the warfare and its sufferings.

Chapter 16. After the warfare the Giver decides to transmit more pleasant memories. In such a way, Jonas gets to know about museums, parties and grandparents. In their community old people do not live together with other citizens and Jonas can see them only at the Hall of Open Records. At last Jonas feels “love”. Gabriel often sleeps in his room and he gives him different good memories.

Chapter 17. All people have a rest for a couple of days and Jonas checks his memories in practice. He realizes that members of his family do not feel real anger or pain but just use these names.

Chapter 18. Jonas asks the Giver about the release. He gets to know about a previous Receiver, a girl named Rosemary, who failed and was released. She did well at first becoming good memories. However, getting to know what terror, fair, war, etc were, she came to the Chief Elder and asked for the release. All her memories were spread among people.

Chapter 19. Jonas comes to closed ceremony in the Hall of Closed Records. He sees how his Father chooses one of the newborn twins and injected all the liquid from his body. Jonas reminds about feelings at the war and realizes that his father has just killed a baby. “Jonas [feels] a ripping sensation inside himself, the feeling of terrible pain clawing its way forward to emerge in a cry” (Lowry, 151).

Chapter 20. Jonas refuses to go home because his father is a murder. He wants to release. However, the Givers calms him down and they think out a plan of release for the end of December. The Giver wants him to give some memories of courage, strength and some exclusive memories which can be of use in Elsewhere. The Giver confesses that the released Receiver Rosemary was his daughter.

Chapter 21. Jonas cannot wait till the Ceremony because Gabriel is voted to be released due to his weakness and bad sleeping. Jonas rides his bicycle a lot of days and nights forgetting about everything.

Chapter 22. At last they find themselves in a new land with sun, waterfalls and birds they have never seen before.

Together with warmth Jonas recollects memories of starvation and exhaustion. He is afraid he is not able to save his brother’s life.

Chapter23. Riding further Jonas starts to feel that they are approaching their destination ”“ Elsewhere. It is very cold, he tries to transmit Gabriel memories of warmness. Suddenly he feels happy. He remembers this place. They start sledging from the hill and different memories change  in Jonas’ consciousness. “For the first time, he [hears] something that he [knows] to be music. He [hears] people singing. Behind him, across vast distances of space and time, from the place he [has] left, he [thinks] he [hears] music too. But perhaps, it [is] only an echo” (Lowry, 180). It is the greatest memory and it is real.

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