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The Giver | Study Guide

Lois Lowry

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Chapter 5

Course Hero Literature Instructor Russell Jaffe provides an in-depth summary and analysis of Chapter 5 of Lois Lowry's novel The Giver.

The Giver | Chapter 5 | Summary



Chapter 5 begins with another standard ritual, the sharing of dreams. Lily and Mother describe their dreams, which are easily interpreted as being about breaking the rules. Jonas, though, had a vivid dream where he was trying to convince Fiona to remove her clothes and let him bathe her. He describes the feelings of "wanting" that accompanied the dream.

Mother asks Jonas to stay behind for a moment as Father and Lily leave for the day. She explains that his dream was his first experience with the Stirrings, and that everyone experiences them. The rules dictate, though, that treatment for these Stirrings must begin immediately in the form of a daily pill, which people take until they enter the house of the Old. Mother and Father both take pills, and now Mother gives one to Jonas. Jonas rides away on his bicycle, thinking about how pleasurable the dream had been, and how he wishes he could feel the Stirrings again. But even as he tries to remember the feeling, the pill does its work and the dream slips away from his thoughts.


The Stirrings referred to in Chapter 5 are Jonas's first sexual urges. Other details in the chapter make it clear that sex is prohibited in the community, even between the adults in a family unit. It also explains, in part, why the only newborn children are those produced by the Birthmothers, and why parents have to "apply" to receive their two allotted children. Why these rules were established is not revealed, but it is another example of the government's control over every aspect of its citizens' lives.

The information in Chapter 5 also makes it clear that family units seem to exist only for the efficient raising and training of children, and to provide the human contact and relationships necessary for healthy growth. Mother and Father seem well trained in how to respond to what happens to their children, becoming, in effect, an extension of the government and its rules.

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