The Giver Book Report Essay
Relationship between the Protagonist and Antagonist
Jonas, the protagonist of the story, is a twelve-year-old boy who lives in a place called The Community, which is the antagonist of the story. In the Community, led by a Committee of Elders, almost all aspects of every citizen’s lives are controlled and planned out for them. When the eleven-year-olds of the Community turn twelve, a career is chosen for them which they must live with for the rest of their lives. Jonas is placed with the job of being the one and only Receiver of the Community, meaning he will receive all of the memories of the past from the Giver. After receiving many memories, Jonas realizes the many restrictions the Community has placed upon the citizens. He comes to a decision to run away with Gabriel, the toddler his family is watching over, despite the many rules he will break. Story Summary
In the Community, all aspects of all citizens’ lives are controlled, from what they say to their everyday routines. If the incorrect term of a word is said, the speaker will be chastised. Each child will receive a comfort object, which is a stuffed animal, at a young age, but will have it taken away once he reached a certain age. When they reach the age of nine, each child will get his or her own bicycle to use to travel around the Community. In the mornings, each family performs a ritual, which they call the “telling of dreams.” Each member of the family has a turn to tell what he dreamed about the night before. In the evenings, another ritual is performed. This one is called the “telling of feelings”, in which each member of the household gets to tell the rest what he did, experienced, and felt that day. When any citizen exhibits a form of improper behavior or language, he must apologize, and will be forgiven. In the December of eleven-year-olds’ lives, they must attend the very important Ceremony of Twelve, in which they will be assigned their life-long career. As citizens’ grow up, they are given the opportunity to apply for a spouse and for children. Each couple is only allowed to have two children. As adults grow even older, they are put into the House of the Old, where they are cared for by workers and volunteers. When the elderly reach a certain age limit, they are “released,” but before that, their lives are celebrated with a little ceremony. Most citizens do not know where people go when they are released; many think they are sent to Elsewhere.
Jonas, who is eleven-years-old, lives with his mother, father, and Lily, his eight-year-old sister. Jonas’ mother works at the Department of Justice and his father works as a Nurturer, caring for newborn babies. Lily is still at an age where she wears pigtails with ribbons, rides on the back of her father’s bicycle, and owns a stuffed elephant.
This will not last long, however, for the Ceremony of Twelve is coming up. At this ceremony, Lily will be rid of her ribbons, stuffed elephant, and will receive her very own bicycle. Jonas will be told which career has been assigned to him. He worries about what career will be given to him and whether he will like it or not. When the day of the ceremony finally arrives, all of the Elevens are antsy, especially Jonas. Jonas and his companions patiently wait for the younger children to go through the process of aging a year older. When the final event of the ceremony comes, the Elevens walk up to the stage one at a time, in number order, to be assigned their career and given a folder containing instructions and rules that go with it. Jonas hears the assignments of Birthmother, Fish Hatchery Attendant, Recreational Director, and many more given out, and when his turn comes, he is skipped. When all the other Twelves have received their assignments, the speaker apologizes to the crowd for causing anxiety and anguish, and finally calls up Jonas to the stage. Jonas is given the assignment of being the Receiver of Memories. It is explained to him that he had everything a receiver needs – intelligence, integrity, courage, wisdom, and the Capacity to See Beyond. He is also told that his job will involve a great amount of physical pain. The following day, Jonas reports to the Annex, where the Giver resides, to begin his training. When he enters the Giver’s living space, he is amazed by the many books, the locks on the doors, and that the speaker in the room is turned off. From the very first day spent with the Giver, Jonas receives many memories.
The first one the Giver gives to him is the memory of a sled ride down a snow-covered hill. Jonas enjoys these memories and learns new terms such as “snow,” “sunshine,” and “warmth.” The last memory The Giver gives to Jonas for the first day is of sunburn. It is Jonas’ first experience with pain. Throughout the year, Jonas works with the Giver, receiving the many memories of the past – both pleasant and painful. During this time, Jonas realizes how the citizens of the Community are restricted from making their own choices. He learns that no one, except for himself and the Giver, can see colors or has the ability to have real, true feelings. Jonas thinks how wonderful, but messy life would be if was able to make their own decisions.
As the next Ceremony of Twelve approaches, the Giver tells Jonas of his plan to release all the memories to the whole Community. Jonas must sneak out with his bicycle and an extra set of clothes the night before the ceremony and go to the Annex to meet with the Giver. There, the Giver will give Jonas food for the days to follow. Jonas will then ride away from the Community, looking for an Elsewhere. As he rides further, the memories will be released to the citizens. However, the plan changes completely when Jonas finds out that Gabriel, the toddler who has been staying with his family for about a year, will be released because of unproductive growth. Jonas dismisses the Giver’s plans, and rides away with Gabriel and his father’s bicycle. He rides at night and rests during the day, for fear of being discovered by the search planes. On the journey, Jonas and Gabriel come across many forms or nature and wildlife. They also come across hunger, cold, and weakness. When Jonas comes across a very steep hill in snowy weather, he is on the verge of giving up, but forces himself forward. He uses whatever memories or warmth he has to keep Gabriel from freezing. At the top of the hill, Jonas is filled with relief and happiness when he discovers that there is a sled just like from the very first memory he received. He sleds down the hill and finds a house where he knows that there is a family waiting for him and Gabriel.
After receiving many memories, Jonas thinks about how different and better life would be if everyone could make their own decisions. As the story progresses, Jonas becomes more and more frustrated that no one else in the Community can see and feel things the way he does. He wishes that everyone had the ability to see colors and have real feelings. After witnessing what a release really was– receiving an injection that kills you – Jonas is pushed to break the rules of his society. He comes to the quick decision to ride away from the Community with Gabriel, who was scheduled to be released. Three Most Favorite Points
One thing I greatly enjoyed about this book was how it gave one example of a perfect utopia. We all know that the world we live in is not perfect and is full of problems, and it is relaxing, in a way, to read about a place where there is complete order and peace – even if it didn’t last throughout the entire book. In the society the story portrays, there are very little problems and everyone gets along happily and easily. I believe that that is a complete opposite of our real world. I would like to experience living in The Giver’s Community, but just for a few days. Another part of the story that I enjoyed was how all of the citizens of the Community didn’t have much knowledge of the world that existed before their time. They don’t know colors, therefore, cannot see any except for shades of gray. They don’t know what animals, sunshine, and snow are. They don’t know the real feeling of pain. What’s really surprising is how they do not know what family really means or what love is. They do not have the ability to have real feelings. I believe that it is very important for everyone to experience love and the bond between family members. I like how this is shown in the relationship between Jonas and the Giver, and Jonas and Gabriel. I found it kind of funny how many of the characters were clueless about many things. What I really liked about the story was how the Giver and Jonas came up with a plan to bring memories back to the citizens of the Community. They believed it was time for the people to know what really was and is. I completely would have agreed with them. I don’t think it was right that the leaders of the society were keeping memories
about life before their time, hidden from all the people. I think that the citizens had the right to see colors and feel love and pain. Even though the plans didn’t go as the Giver and Jonas thought it would, I still like the intention they had. I believe that what Jonas chose to do was the right thing to do. Favorite Character
Of all the characters in the story, I would have to say that Jonas is my most favorite. I really love his caring and courageous character. Jonas shows his love and kindness in many ways towards various characters. He shows his kindness and love for the Giver by telling him to keep the memory he enjoys a lot, which is the memory of music. Jonas shows his love for Gabriel by taking him and sneaking away from the Community when he hears news of Gabriel’s release. Jonas’ courage and rebellious side also caught my attention. I like how he had the guts to touch Asher to try to show him colors and to ask his parents if they loved him. I especially liked how he risked making his own plans to run away with Gabriel. I chose Jonas as my most favorite character because I think many teenagers can relate to him in various ways. Major Theme
I believe that the major theme of this story is realizing how important individuality really is. Many people try to be someone that they’re not just to fit in or because they think that who they really are isn’t good enough. I believe that they are wrong. Every single person is unique in their own way and they should embrace who they are. Every person has the right to his own opinions and his own feelings. Every person should have the right to express what they feel. Jonas and the Giver embraced this concept with their plan to release memories to all the citizens of the Community. Recommendation
I would recommend this book because I think readers would enjoy the setting of the story. I think they would like to see an example of a utopian society. People need to see how nice it would be if we lived in a place of order and peace. It would show them how better life would be if everyone just got along. However, they can also learn that a utopian society can have its down sides. A utopia has the power to limit an
individual’s freedom, and that goes against our natural rights. This book would show readers the pros and cons of living in a perfect community. I think readers would also like the fact that the citizens had no memories of the past. It will get them thinking of how their lives would be if they lived in a world like the one in the book. They would see how boring life would be without colors and feelings. They would realize how important it is to have memories. Without memories, you wouldn’t know what pleasure or pain is – both of which one should experience in life. I believe that the theme of embracing your individuality will catch the readers’ attention. They can use it to relate to their own lives. It can show them how they do not need to act like someone they are not because they should love who they really are and show it. They can realize how much more interesting life would be if everyone would show their one-of-a-kind selves. They need to learn that they are unique in their own ways and should show off their differences that set them apart from everyone else. I would highly recommend this story to young adults who need to learn how important it is to accept your true self.