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The Giver | Study Guide

Lois Lowry

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The Giver | Quotes


It ... was considered rude to call attention to things that were unsettling or different about individuals.

Narrator, Chapter 3

Jonas is uncomfortable when Lily mentions that Gabriel has the same unusual eyes as Jonas. In their society, differences are unusual and undesirable, and it is rude to point them out.


How could someone not fit in? The community was so meticulously ordered, the choices so carefully made.

Narrator, Chapter 6

Jonas hears a story about someone who requested release after an unwanted job assignment, and he decides the story must be false because decisions made by the Elders are always right.


I always thought there was only us. I thought there was only now.

Jonas, Chapter 10

Jonas is surprised to hear The Giver refer to other time periods and other generations. In the society Jonas knows, memories of the past don't exist.


I have great honor. ... But you will find that that is not the same as power.

The Giver, Chapter 11

The Giver warns Jonas not to confuse the honor of being The Receiver with any sort of power. They are at the mercy of the Elders and the Book of Rules of the community.


We gained control of many things. But we had to let go of others.

The Giver, Chapter 12

The Giver explains to Jonas than in the quest for Sameness—control over the environment and over the unpredictable nature of their own lives—the community gave up many of the differences that made life wonderful.


It's the choosing that's important, isn't it?

The Giver, Chapter 13

This is The Giver's response to Jonas's comment that when everything is the same, there is no such thing as choice. The Giver is actually referring to the loss of the freedom to choose.


We really have to protect people from the wrong choices.

Jonas, Chapter 13

Jonas briefly comes to terms with Sameness, thinking that to require people to make choices opens them up to making and regretting the wrong decisions. Even as he says this, though, he still wishes he had more choice.


Life here is so orderly, so predictable—so painless.

The Giver, Chapter 13

The Giver explains why the Elders don't want his advice more and are not interested in change. They prefer the safe, comfortable life they know to a more challenging, but risky, way of living.


Memories need to be shared.

The Giver, Chapter 13

The Giver explains that memories need to be shared to be useful, and that being the only person who remembers something creates an almost unbearable feeling of loneliness and isolation.


Without the memories, it's all meaningless.

The Giver, Chapter 13

The Giver explains that scientists and the Elders have an unlimited number of facts at their disposal, but without the understanding and memories needed to show them how to best use that knowledge, the facts are useless.


Now he understood the joy of being an individual, special and unique and proud.

Narrator, Chapter 16

Jonas receives the memory of a birthday party, and for the first time he realizes what it means to be special. This experience is unknown in a society where conformity is the norm and differences are frowned upon.


Feelings are not part of the life she's learned.

The Giver, Chapter 20

The Giver explains to Jonas that people like Fiona, who is learning to release the Old, cannot be blamed for feeling nothing. The ability to feel emotions has been conditioned out of all citizens, and following the rules is all they know.


Of course they needed to care. It was the meaning of everything.

Narrator, Chapter 20

Jonas's anger at one point makes him want to ignore the well-being of the community as a whole. But he then realizes that caring about others is what is missing from his society, and that he must continue to try to help them regain what they have lost.


He was awed by the surprises that lay beyond each curve of the road.

Narrator, Chapter 22

Once Jonas escapes, he feels amazement that each moment can reveal something new and unexpected. After a life of sameness and predictability, this knowledge brings him tremendous joy.

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