The Giver


Symbols and Themes

The Sled— The sled is the first memory that Jonas receives. The sled represents Jonas’ ability to get away from the Sameness that is so prevalent throughout the community. The sled requires no gasoline or effort; instead, it gives Jonas and Gabriel an effortless way to slide into a new life waiting for them at the bottom of the snowy hill. The sled also represents the convergence of pleasure and pain. Though the sled memory allows Jonas to experience exhilaration, it also causes Jonas to feel the sensation of pain. The sled is red, which symbolizes the color that is missing from the community.


Memory— Memory is the most crucial theme of The Giver. Lowry expresses how memory is necessary to the experiences of pleasure and pain. Without memory, the same mistakes can be made over and over again. Memory allows people to learn from their mistakes and the mistakes of others; however, with the exception of Jonas and The Giver, no one in the community fully grasps this concept. They are content to live without memory, especially since the lack of memory prevents them from experiencing anything that involves pain.


Individuality vs. Sameness— In Jonas’ community, Sameness is valued. Any differences between people should not be pointed out or observed. However, Jonas usually has the perception to see that Sameness is not always something to be praised. As he receives more and more memories, Jonas sees the value in celebrating differences. Jonas especially sees this in the newchild Gabriel. Gabriel cannot sleep through the night, but Jonas does not take this as a negative trait. Instead, Jonas strives to help Gabriel overcome this hindrance.


Death and Release— In Jonas’ community, Release is a euphemism for death. However, members of the community often see Release as a simple exit from the community. Many of the community members see Release as a celebratory event. However, Jonas learns that...

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Essays About The Giver