Literary Elements in The Giver'
By Lois Lowry
The literary element that I chose for this piece of work is symbolism, as it
seems to run heavily throughout the book. The first recognizable symbol is baby Gabriel
who is a working metaphor for the future, as babies often are. He symbolizes a new
future not only for Jonas, but also for the community as things are to change with his
disappearance. He also represents hope. He represents a longing for success on behalf of
Jonas, and also a human connectionrivaled by only The Giver.
The sled is another symbol. It is a symbol of memory and of the power that
memory weilds. It becomes a strong enough force to propel Jonas forward in a time
of great need of strength and endurance.
The river is a symbol of the uncontrollable. It flows away from the community
and is out of the control of the community. The only loss that is not attempted to be
eradicated altogether from memory is that of a child named Caleb, who was lost to the
river. When Jonas realizes how detrimental it would be to the community if he were lost,
his thoughts turn immediately to the river as his fear.
Color is a symbol for understanding. When Jonas starts to perceive color, he
attains the ability to understand what he sees. It is a metaphor for perception.
Eye color is another symbol. The light eyes that Jonas, Gabriel, and The Giver
share symbolize a deeper, unspoken connection. It is implied that this unspoken
connection is genetic rather than simply coincidental, but this possibility is never
broached in the text.
Nudity is a symbol that, to Jonas, represents personal freedom and the ability
to be truly close to another person.
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