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The Giver | Study Guide

Lois Lowry

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Course Hero Literature Instructor Russell Jaffe explains the main characters in Lois Lowry's novel The Giver.

The Giver | Characters

Character Description
Jonas Jonas is a bright, inquisitive boy, selected at the December Ceremony to be the new Receiver of Memory for the community. He trains with the present Receiver to learn how to fulfill that role, but he gradually begins to question everything about the society he lives in. Read More
The Giver The Giver is actually the present Receiver of Memory, who stores all past memories for the community, going back decades and perhaps centuries, enabling others to avoid the pain that memories and knowledge often bring. His knowledge also makes him the wisest of the Elders, and he advises them on important decisions. Read More
Father Father is part of Jonas's family unit, though not Jonas's biological father. He is also a Nurturer in the community, responsible for the care of the newchildren. He brings the newchild Gabriel to the dwelling for extra nurturing so the child will not be slated for release. Read More
Asher Jonas's best friend, Asher is a good-natured and somewhat clumsy boy who often unintentionally breaks rules. Jonas worries about Asher's adult job assignment, but the boy does fine and successfully takes on a position as Assistant Director of Recreation. After Jonas is selected to be The Receiver, though, their friendship erodes.
Caleb Caleb is a happy Four who was "lost" in the river. A replacement child, also named Caleb, is assigned to his family at a later December Ceremony, an example of the interchangeable nature of individuals in the community.
The Chief Elder The Chief Elder is elected every 10 years. She is the head of the Council of Elders and leads the important ceremonies in the community.
Fiona Fiona is a kind girl who likes to care for the Old. Jonas develops strong feelings for her, and a dream about her leads to his first Stirrings; later, Jonas is distressed to find out that the gentle Fiona has learned the art of the release (death) of the Old.
Fritz Fritz is an awkward boy who bumps his bicycle into the podium during the Ceremony of Nine. His error reflects badly on his parents and embarrasses the watching community.
Gabriel Gabriel, sometimes called Gabe, is a newchild who initially avoids "release" because Jonas's father requests that he be allowed to live with their family unit and be given additional nurturing. The baby has the same pale eyes as Jonas and later shows that he, too, has the ability to receive memories.
Larissa Larissa is a kind, good-natured woman who lives comfortably in the House of the Old. Jonas sometimes cares for her when he volunteers.
Lily Lily is Jonas's younger sister, a bright, bubbly girl with a surprising imagination.
Mother Mother has an important position in the Department of Justice and is part of Jonas's family unit. She is not his biological mother, but she helps teach him the rules and guides him as he matures.
Roberto Roberto was a resident at the House of the Old, recently "released" after a joyous celebration of his life. At the next December Ceremony, a newchild is given his name.
Rosemary A bright, affectionate, and inquisitive girl, Rosemary was selected as the new Receiver 10 years before Jonas; she could not bear the suffering caused by the memories she received, however, and requested "release" after only five weeks. Later, Rosemary is revealed to have been The Giver's daughter.
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