The Giver Summary: A Critical Analysis of Themes & Characters

Last updated on April 6, 2023 by

Lois Lowry, an American author, is behind the success of the award-winning dystopian novel, The Giver. The book has also been adapted into a feature film. Since its first publication in 1993, it has become a classic of the genre. The novel portrays a society considered to be a Utopia. While it was initially intended for young adult audiences, it has gained a wide readership across all ages. As the story unfolds, the reader discovers the deceitful world we live in. Let’s delve deeper into the plot overview, characters, and themes of this influential novel in this The Giver summary.

Overview of The Giver Book Summary

Plot Summary of The Giver

the giver plot summary
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The people seem to have everything under control, and there is no sorrow, suffering, or discrimination among them. Jonas, a little child and the protagonist of the novel, is approaching the age of twelve. When he turns twelve, he will receive a job and transition into adulthood in the neighborhood. Jonas has been assigned the unique and special task of becoming the Receiver of Memory.

Wherein, he needs to communicate with the current Receiver, also called The Giver. This will serve as a way for him to learn about memories from the past. As their interaction continues, he gains knowledge of the pleasures and pains of life outside of his village. It includes love, suffering, and death. As shown above, you can visualize The Giver plot summary using the mind map. 

Jonas begins to doubt the laws and standards of his society as he collects memories. He discovers that the flawless facade of the community comes at a high price. As well as how individuality and freedom have been sacrificed in favor of consistency and control. As a result, Jonas decides to flee with a child who is scheduled for death. It is the practice of “release” or someone will be killed.

Fortunately, The Giver helps them to escape the neighborhood with the hope of having a better life in the unknown. The readers are left wondering what will the future holds for Jonas and the baby.

The Giver Character Analysis

In this The Giver book summary, we provided you with a brief overview of the story’s plot. However, let us quickly analyze the characters to give you a better understanding of the story. Each character’s actions and beliefs contribute to the novel’s success as key points.

the giver characters
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Jonas is considerate, inquisitive, and smart. As he receives memories from The Giver, he begins to experience intense emotions and feelings. He also discovers some of society’s dirty secrets, including the practice of “release.” As a result, he becomes progressively frustrated with the lack of freedom and individuality. Readers are left to make assumptions about what will happen to Jonas after he departs from society.

The Giver

The Giver holds all the memories of society and guides Jonas in his role as the Receiver of Memory. Despite his advanced age, he retains the memories and emotions of the past. Also, he is aware of the problems in society, but he chooses to remain in his role instead of rebelling. Eventually, he agrees to help Jonas escape and encourages him to continue carrying the memories.


She is a close friend of Jonas and was introduced as a timid and soft-spoken girl. Moreover, she works as a Caretaker in the House of Old community. She is known for her gentle touch and compassion for the elderly. 


Asher is portrayed in the beginning as a playful, high-spirited youngster. He frequently misuses language and mixes up words. Despite this, he is entrusted with the responsibilities of Assistant Director of Recreation, tasked with planning events for the neighborhood. His character serves as a warning about the negative effects of blindly adhering to laws and customs.

The Chief Elder

 The Chief Elder commits herself to uphold peace and stability in the neighborhood. With that,  the people in the village admire her for being a reasonable and intelligent leader. However, as the narrative progresses, she becomes a product of the neighborhood’s rigid adherence.


Gabriel stands for the potential for change and the hope for a brighter future. In the same way, he symbolizes the importance of preserving memories and emotions. Jonas transmits memories to him through his ability to sleep and acquire information.

The Giver Themes

This novel explores several themes relevant to society today. No wonder why is it a thought-provoking and powerful read. Thus, several themes are included in this The Giver book summary. Discover them below:

the giver themes
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Conformity & Individuality

The community members have assigned roles and given names based on a specific list. On top of that, they are required to follow strict rules and regulations. Any deviation from these norms is not tolerated and can result in punishment or death. The novel shows the dangers of conformity as it leads to the suppression of emotions, memories, and creativity.


Also, the book highlights the importance of freedom in creating a better world. It is essential to human happiness and fulfillment. Without freedom, people cannot explore their unique talents and interests. Likewise, they cannot express themselves or make choices for themselves and their communities.

Life and Death

The compelling story presents a powerful message about the importance of valuing human life. It reveals the natural process of life and death. Meanwhile, it emphasizes the need for people to appreciate the beauty of life and its ending.


All in all, The Giver summary provides insights into the complexities of the novel, human connections, and freedom in society. It explores themes and characters that play a big role in the success of the story. Furthermore, mind maps help you get a better understanding of this must-read book. GitMind will be posting more exciting and worth-to-read blogs, so stay tuned.

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Posted by: on to Tips and Resources. Last updated on April 6, 2023

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