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Reading: The Giver


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The Giver


Like Jonas, who is a young person with the wisdom of an old person, the Giver is a bit of a paradox. He looks ancient, but he is not old at all. Like someone who has seen and done many things over many years, he is very wise and world-weary, and he is haunted by memories of suffering and pain, but in reality his life has been surprisingly uneventful. In the world of the community, the Giver has spent most of his life inside his comfortable living quarters, eating his meals and emerging occasionally to take long walks. Yet he carries the memories of an entire community, so he feels like a man who has done more in his life than anyone else in the world: he has experienced the positive and negative emotions, desires, triumphs, and failures of millions of men and women, as well as animals. He is responsible for preserving those memories and using the wisdom they give him to make decisions for the community.Read full character analysis

Meet the author

Dystopian Novels

What are Utopias and Dystopias ?

The word utopia comes from the Greek words ou, meaning "no" or "not," and topos, meaning "place." Since its original conception, utopia has come to mean a place that we can only dream about, a true paradise. Dystopia, which is the direct opposite of utopia, is a term used to describe a utopian society in which things have gone wrong.


A dystopian society is a futuristic, imagined society in which the idea of a perfect society is maintained through control of the oppressive government. 

Following is a list of characteristics of a Dystopian Society found on

  •    Propaganda is used to control the citizens of the society.
  •    Information, independent thought, and freedom are restricted.
  •    A figurehead or concept is worshipped by the citizens of the society.
  •    Citizens are perceived to be under constant surveillance.
  •    Citizens have fear of the outside world.
  •    The natural world is banished and distrusted.
  •    Citizens conform to uniform expectations.  Individuality and dissent are bad.
  •    The society is an illusion of a perfect utopian world - such as in the The Giver.

The Dystopian Protagonist:

  •   often feels trapped and is struggling to escape.
  •    questions the existing social and political systems.
  •    believes or feels that something is terribly wrong with the society in which he or she lives.
  •    helps the audience recognize the negative aspects of the dystopian world through his or her perspective.

Jona's father


Jonas’s father is one of the only characters in the novel, besides the Giver and Jonas, who seems to grapple with difficult decisions and complex emotions. Although Jonas’s father does not have access to the memories that give Jonas and the Giver insight into human relationships and feelings, he displays many of the characteristics that were valued in pre-Sameness societies. As a Nurturer, he feels a strong connection with the babies he cares for and a deep concern for their welfare. Although he agrees with Jonas’s mother that “love” is a meaningless, obscure word, the feelings he displays toward the new children and his family seem very much like love: he delights in taking care of them and playing with them, he worries about them, and he makes minor and major sacrifices for their benefit, from indulging his daughter’s fondness for her comfort object to bringing baby Gabriel home  Read full character analysis