What the Hell happened in the ending? Did he die?
- Canonically, it's strongly implied that Jonas survives and is a secondary character in the lesser-known and far more Marty Stuish Messenger, the final book in the trilogy. That said, don't write that in a book report, or your teachers will have unkind words with you.
- This could be a teachable moment in another way to. When you are asked to write such papers in English the idea is that you are writing an "argument" based on evidence and why you think the book ended that way. This works fine when there is no factual answer to the question presented in the narrative. While The Giver ends on that note, Lois Lowry did indeed later give a factual answer. By that people should not be assigning that as a question because there is no need for an argument or an opinion when the question now has a fact to answer. for historical perspective, this isn't the first time such an event happened.
- This troper thought it was very strongly implied that Jonas was the leader in the third book, since he mentioned that he had a gift which manifested with an apple (the first thing Jonas saw in color was an apple), the leader had remarkable blue eyes, and there was something about his old community sending him books after he established the village (Jonas would have inherited the books from the Giver). There was also mention of a child named Gabriel who went to the school in the village. And why would a teacher mind thinking Jonas survived? This troper's teacher strongly encouraged her students to decide for themselves whether or not he lived or died and was the one who brought up evidence in later books that he survived.
- I think what the troper meant by "...or your teachers will have unkind words with you" was that teachers want their students to consider the book on its own, not with its sequels. I had made that connection in something I wrote for 6th grade English, and my teacher said that he would have liked if I had considered only what happened in The Giver, not in either sequel (though both sequels were assigned to us for summer reading, before we even knew we would be reading The Giver).
- Here is what Word of God has to say on the matter, from the interview at the back of this◊ version:
Q. When you wrote the ending, were you afraid some readers would want more details or did you want to leave the ending open to individual interpretation?
A. Many kids want a more specific ending to The Giver. Some write or ask me when they see me, to spell it out exactly. And I don't do that. And the reason is because The Giver is many things to many different people. People bring to it their own complicated beliefs and hopes and dreams and fears and all of that. So I don't want to put my own feelings into it, my own beliefs, and ruin that for people who create their own endings in their minds.
Q. Is it an optimistic ending? Does Jonas survive?
A. I will say that I find it an optimistic ending.How could it not be an optimistic ending, a happy ending, when that house is there with its lights on and music is playing? So I'm always kind of surprised and disappointed when some people tell me they think the boy and the baby just die. I don't think they die. What form their new life takes is something I like people to figure out for themselves. And each person will give it a different ending. I think they're out there somewhere and I think that their life has changed and their life is happy, and I would like to think that's true for the people they left behind as well.
Those of you who hoped that I would stand here tonight and reveal the "true" ending, the "right" interpretation of the ending, will be disappointed. There isn't one. There's a right one for each of us, and it depends on our own beliefs, our own hopes.
Let me tell you a few endings which are the "right" endings for a few children out of the many who have written to me.
From a sixth grader: "I think that when they were traveling they were traveling in a circle. When they came to "Elsewhere" it was their old community, but they had accepted the memories and all the feelings that go along with it..."
From another: "...Jonas was kind of like Jesus because he took the pain for everyone else in the community so they wouldn’t have to suffer. And, at the very end of the book, when Jonas and Gabe reached the place that they knew as Elsewhere, you described Elsewhere as if it were heaven."
And one more: "A lot of people I know would hate that ending, but not me. I loved it. Mainly because I got to make the book happy. I decided they made it. They made it to the past. I decided the past was our world, and the future was their world. It was parallel worlds."
Finally, from one seventh grade boy: "I was really surprised that they just died at the end. That was a bummer. You could of made them stay alive, I thought."
Very few find it a bummer. Most of the young readers who have written to me have perceived the magic of the circular journey. The truth that we go out and come back, and that what we come back to is changed, and so are we.
- I don't know anyone who found it a bummer actually. Well, now that this troper knows Lowry said that, he probably won't view the book with the "...this is pretentious waffle" view he had since he was required to read it in 8th grade and had grade points deducted since what he interpreted the ending to be wasn't the true ending. (And no, he said that Jonas was free in the end.)