The Giver – Literature – Plot

Jonas, a twelve-year-old boy, lives in a futuristic society. In this society, there is no hate, prejudice, love, music, color, suffering, war or hunger. Life there is never unexpected or inconvenient or unusual. Every person in the community is extremely polite. Everything is arranged by The Elders right down to whom you will marry, whom you will receive as children, and what you will be assigned as a job. The Elders don’t dare to let people make choices on their own because they think making choices will cause a catastrophe in the community.
The members of the community who reach the age of twelve are given a job based their abilities and interests. Jonas has been working as a caretaker for old people. He is uneasy about the upcoming Ceremony of Twelve where he’ll be assigned his lifelong job, and he feels like he is not suitable for any assignment. That night, at the nightly sharing of feelings, the family members, his sister, father and mother, discuss their emotions. His parents put him at ease about his worries and tell him that the Elders will assign him a proper job.
On the day of the ceremony, Jonas sits together with his best friends, Fiona and Asher, and the other classmates in order of birth. All of the community is present, and the Chief Elder runs the ceremony. Jonas is astonished when his turn is passed by, and he feels increasingly conspicuous and agonized until he is alone. The Chief Elder then explains that Jonas has not been given a normal assignment, but instead has been selected as the next Receiver of Memory, a person carrying the burden of the memories from all of history, and who is the only one allowed access to books beyond schoolbooks and the rulebook.
Jonas’s training separates him from his friends and forces him to be secretive about his work. It also allows him to lie, which is generally forbidden in the community.
The Giver begins transferring to Jonas the memories of the past, which are before the Sameness. Sameness is the name of the ideology which is chosen by the Elders of Jonas’s community. Sameness aims to make people live under the same conditions and, thus, create equality. But the cost is freedom and individual choice.
As Jonas receives memories from the Giver, he learns something about the real world and he realizes how boring and empty life in his community is. Life here is so orderly, so predictable, so painless. It’s what they’ve chosen. The memories make Jonas’s life meaningful and richer. He wants to share those memories and feelings with the other people in the community, who don’t feel deep passion about anything. The people in the community don’t know real suffering, but they also cannot appreciate the real joy of life, and the life of individual people seems less precious to them.
During his training, Jonas helps his family to take care of a new baby, Gabriel, who has trouble sleeping through the night at the Nurturing Center. He always cries; so Jonas helps Gabriel to sleep by transmitting calming memories to him every night. Gabriel is decided to be released because he doesn’t grow fast and he has sleep problems. When Gabriel is in danger of being released, the Giver reveals to Jonas that release means death. Jonas doesn’t want Gabriel to be killed since they have a bond with each other. He and the Giver make a plan to save Gabriel from being killed and also to make the people leave Sameness. Jonas takes Gabriel and they ride a bicycle out of the community to Elsewhere. By his escaping the community, all of the memories that Jonas has received from The Giver will be transmitted back to the citizens in the community and those memories will force them to experience feelings and emotions and to remember their past. Jonas travels for days and days with Gabriel, who is dying from starvation and the cold weather. Finally, Jonas finds what he perceives as the hill from his first transmitted memory, and he hears music and sees Christmas lights. He believes that he has found an Elsewhere and there is someone who is waiting for them there.