“The Giver,” Chapters 4 and 5

July 21, 2010 at 10:25 pm 15 comments

Book: The Giver, by Lois Lowry

Illustrated by: Lucy Knisley

Chapter 4:

This scene from the fourth chapter is a weird one. Jonas is fulfilling his last few volunteer hours as “an eleven,” so he rides his bike to the “House of the Old,” to join his friends in caring for the elderly of the community. There, he bathes a woman who tells him glowingly about a “release” that took place earlier, when an man at the house of the old was “released” from the community.

There’s a lot of talk of physicality in this scene. It’s explained that within the community, seeing anyone naked is forbidden (excluding the elderly and the very young). Much time is spent describing the steamy room and the woman’s frail skin and Jonas’ friend, Fiona, who, nearby, is washing an elderly man.

It’s always been a really eerily visual scene to me. The strange sexuality of this moment points out how the rest of life within the community is decidedly un-sexual. Reproduction is handled through designated birthmothers who are (one assumes) artificially inseminated. Even “mothers” and “fathers” are assigned to one another, and seem to behave like just good pals.

Man, this is such a great, creepy book.

Chapter 5:

In this chapter, Jonas and his family gather around the breakfast table to discuss their dreams from the previous night. Jonas shares a confusing, uncomfortable dream, in which he is trying to bathe his friend Fiona as he did for the elderly woman in the previous chapter. In the dream, Fiona laughingly refuses, which makes Jonas “angry.” His mother explains that the dream is his first “stirring,” which indicates that he has reached the time when he should begin to take the daily pills that are taken by all adults in the community.

Another creepy one. The dream is actually less sexual than the bathing scene from the former chapter, but it’s strange that Jonas is consumed with a kind of anger in his dream. This frustration, while perfectly natural in sexy dreams, reflects how repressed the sexuality is within this community, so that sexuality manifests as frustration and “wanting” in Jonas’ dream.

Congratulated on reaching the age that allows him to join his parents and friend Asher in taking the pills, Jonas becomes proud of his new status and takes the pills. As soon as he’s taken them, he tries to recapture the “pleasurable feelings in the dream,” but they quickly slip away and vanish.

They drugged the sexy right out of this community!

I thought these two chapters went so well together that they should post both at once. Next month: The start of the The Ceremony!

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Entry filed under: The Giver. Tags: .

The Neverending Story, part III Damned if you do and damned if you don’t.

15 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Rebecca Burgess  |  July 22, 2010 at 12:44 pm

    I love your artwork so much, so straight forward and clear. And this book sounds very interesting, what kind of culture has the author come from /looking at that this book is reflected upon, I wonder? :)

  • 2. eva  |  July 23, 2010 at 4:58 pm

    i loved lowry’s anastasia krupnik books when i was a kid. i’ve never read any of her other stuff, but your illustrations & summaries are intriguing me!

  • 3. daniel  |  July 25, 2010 at 4:59 am

    this is WAT I’VE LOOKING 4!!
    also, I like ur illustration, too

  • 4. Pragmatic Mom  |  July 27, 2010 at 2:07 pm

    I keep hearing so much about this book. I really have to read it. The illustrations are intriguing and pull in the reader in a comic book type of way.

    Pragmatic Mom

  • 5. Suprise  |  September 23, 2010 at 2:34 pm

    Im reading this book in class and your drawings maze me. I showed my teacher she says they are wonderful.

  • 6. Teresa  |  May 18, 2011 at 8:44 am

    I love this book

  • 7. Wildnese  |  June 12, 2011 at 7:36 am

    i hate the ending

  • 8. someone1001  |  November 29, 2011 at 8:58 pm

    i love this book but the end is really sad

    • 9. John  |  December 1, 2013 at 4:52 pm

      I don’t agree it was a good ending! It was a very emotional ending when they whent down the sled and into the city to see christmas lights and people singing. That means they moved to a new place and they will happilly live there with someone and there is another book telling a new story about what happens!

    • 10. sam  |  July 4, 2014 at 10:51 am


  • 11. roba jabour  |  May 24, 2012 at 7:26 am

    its amazing and we r tking it in skool but the end sucks i wnt to know wt happens

    • 12. Freakyjacks  |  December 1, 2013 at 4:54 pm

      There are more than just one book. :P

      • 13. Bunny rabbit 🐰  |  February 1, 2014 at 5:40 pm

        Why is there more than one book? Is it that they’re different?

  • 14. Ariboo  |  September 26, 2012 at 3:04 pm

    This book is awesome

  • 15. DS  |  April 26, 2014 at 12:05 pm

    Gathering Blue


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