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The Giver


The Giver Cover



Reading Group Guide

1. In The Giver, each family has two parents, a son, and a daughter. The relationships are not biological but are developed through observation and a careful handling of personality. In our own society, the makeup of family is under discussion. How are families defined? Are families the foundations of a society, or are they continually open for new definitions?

2. In Jonass community, every person and his or her experience are precisely the same. The climate is controlled, and competition has been eliminated in favor of a community in which everyone works only for the common good. What advantages might “Sameness” yield for contemporary communities? Is the loss of diversity worthwhile?

3. Underneath the placid calm of Jonass society lies a very orderly and inexorable system of euthanasia, practiced on the very young who do not conform, the elderly, and those whose errors threaten the stability of the community. What are the disadvantages and benefits of a community that accepts such a vision of euthanasia?

4. Why is the relationship between Jonas and The Giver dangerous, and what does this danger suggest about the nature of love?

5. The ending of The Giver may be interpreted in two very different ways. Perhaps Jonas is remembering his Christmas memory–one of the most beautiful that The Giver transmitted to him–as he and Gabriel are freezing to death, falling into a dreamlike coma in the snow. Or perhaps Jonas does hear music and, with his special vision, is able to perceive the warm house where people are waiting to greet him. In her acceptance speech for the Newbery Medal, Lois Lowry mentioned both possibilities but would not choose one as correct. What evidence supports each interpretation?

6. There are groups in the United States today that actively seek to maintain an identity outside the mainstream culture: the Amish, the Mennonites, Native American tribes, and the Hasidic Jewish community. What benefits do these groups expect from defining themselves as “other”? What are the disadvantages? How does the mainstream culture put pressure on such groups?

7. Lois Lowry helps create an alternate world by having the community use words in a special way. Though that world stresses what it calls “precision of language,” in fact it is built upon language that is not precise but deliberately clouds meaning. What is the danger of such misleading language?

8. Examine the ways in which Jonass community uses euphemism to distance itself from the reality of “Release.” How does our own society use euphemism to distance us from such realities as aging and death, bodily functions, and political activities? What are the benefits and disadvantages of such uses of language?

Prepared by Gary D. Schmidt, Department of English, Calvin College

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smith.samantha100, October 4, 2013 (view all comments by smith.samantha100)
I absolutely love this book. I have read it at least 20 times in the past 7 years. It is gorgeous and every time I read it, I understand something new. This book touches my heart and it still makes me cry. This is one of my absolute favorite books.
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GarstarBuggies, January 1, 2013 (view all comments by GarstarBuggies)
A book that can be read at any age to get a different perspective. I wish I had read it when I was younger. My son read it in school and understood things I missed. I will read it when I am older. A book for the whole family to read and discuss.
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hillary.furbish, August 6, 2012 (view all comments by hillary.furbish)
This is the most beautifully written book I have ever read. I am always amazed by the imagery.
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Product Details

Laurel Leaf
New York, N.Y. :
performance Performance:
Ron Rifkin.
Lowry, Lois
Science Fiction, Fantasy, & Magic
Children's 12-Up - Fiction - General
Science fiction
Social Situations - General
Social Situations - Emotions & Feelings
Social Situations - Values
Children's 12-Up - Fiction - Science Fiction
Situations / General
Edition Description:
Mass market paperback
21st Century Reference
Series Volume:
Publication Date:
Grade Level:
Young adult
6.91x4.26x.60 in. .10 lbs.
Age Level:

Related Subjects

Children's » Awards » Newbery Award Winners
Featured Titles » Banned Books » Children's
Young Adult » Fiction » Newbery Award Winners
Young Adult » Fiction » Social Issues » Values and Virtues
Young Adult » General

The Giver
0 stars - 0 reviews
$ In Stock
Product details 192 pages Random House - English 9780440219071 Reviews:
"Synopsis" by , Jonas's world is perfect. Everything is under control. There is no war or fear of pain. There are no choices. Every person is assigned a role in the community. When Jonas turns 12 he is singled out to receive special training from The Giver. The Giver alone holds the memories of the true pain and pleasure of life. Now, it is time for Jonas to receive the truth. There is no turning back.
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