The Giver


Key Quotes

1. “It was against the rules for children or adults to look at another’s nakedness; but the rule did not apply to newchildren or the Old. Jonas was glad. . . . He couldn’t see why it was necessary. He liked the feeling of safety here in this warm and quiet room; he liked the expression of trust on the woman’s face as she lay in the water unprotected, exposed, and free.”

            This quote reveals to readers just how strict the community is. Natural sexual urges are something that the community despises. Because partners are chosen for those old enough to marry, the community believes that sexual attraction should be hidden or covered. However, in this scene, Jonas shows how he differs from most in the community. He recognizes that true nakedness and exposure can cause a bond and trust to form between two people. Jonas sees that the old woman he bathes has nothing to hide; even though she wears no clothes, she trusts him and his actions. This is one of the first glimpses of foreshadowing that readers get concerning Jonas’ confusion at the community’s ultimate strictness.


2. “‘We failed in our last selection,’ the Chief Elder said solemnly. ‘It was ten years ago, when Jonas was just a toddler. I will not dwell on the experience because it causes us all terrible discomfort.’”

            This is the first indication that there was a Receiver (other than The Giver) who came before Jonas. The Chief Elder brings up the “failure” in Chapter 8, right before she officially names Jonas as the next Receiver. Because discomfort is something that the community cannot handle, the Chief Elder notes that she will not stay on the subject long. As the story unfolds, readers learn that the failed Receiver was Rosemary. When Rosemary applied for Release, the community had a very difficult time grappling with the memories that Rosemary held. Because many...

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