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YMMV: The Giver
  • Alternate Character Interpretation: The book Deconstructing Penguins applies some Fridge Logic and points out that people don't lie unless they know what they are doing is wrong. The argument escalates until "Jonas is no longer running away from a place where everyone believes the same things and he's different. He's running away from a place of terrible corruption that desperately needs him as the one person who might be able to make things better." In-story, this is explained as the reason The Giver stays, and Jonas does not. One must leave for the memories to return, and the Giver is not as hale and is more experienced with comforting people.
  • Anvilicious: In the third novel, Messenger, the protagonist blatantly states that the entire world, or at least the forest that surrounds his village, is really just a metaphor for the human condition.
  • Common Knowledge: Despite strict regulations on behavior, the book acknowledges that people in the Community still have distinct personalities (government-mandated personality tests are a huge plot point) and that certain people have distinctive physical traits in spite of selective breeding designed to prevent them. Still, The Giver is generally remembered as "that book about a futuristic society where everyone looks and acts the same", even though the truth is a bit more complex than that.
  • Fanon: Many fans of the band Weezer believe that the song "My Name is Jonas" was inspired by The Giver, though Word of God has never confirmed this.
  • First Installment Wins: A lot of people read this book at some point, usually for Middle School. However, almost nobody knows there were three sequels.
  • Moral Event Horizon:
    • The reveal of the true nature of the "Release" is this for the entire society. For Jonas, his father in particular goes over the line, as he's the one doing the Release to a baby. This is softened in the Live-Action Adaptation as he undergoes a My God, What Have I Done? moment once, upon the release of the memories, it dawns upon him that he's been committing institutionalized murder all along.
    • Subverted by Asher in the film adaptation when he's sent to kill Jonas mid-flight and he accepts the task only to merely pretend to do so by dropping him into a river, with the deception allowing Jonas to continue down to Elsewhere.
  • Nightmare Fuel:
    • Jonas's father killing a baby, and cheerfully saying "Bye bye, little guy!" as the body goes down a metal chute.
      • This scene is even worse if the reader is a twin... especially a lighter one. "It could've been me!"
    • Some of the memories Jonas receives qualify as this. Remember the first "bad" one?. "Oh look, it's the sled again! This can't go wrong-..oh...OH....aaaagh..." And remember, that was somebody's memory, meaning that horrible crash and mangling happened to someone.
    • Oh, and let's not forget the memory of dying soldiers. From Jonas's point of view, it lasted for hours.
    • How about that poor sap of a Pilot at the beginning? A mild navigational error led him to fly over the town as he tried to get back on course, and on schedule. Because of this, the Elders actually considered shooting him down were it not for The Giver talking them down... although in the end they still got the blood they wanted when they executed the guy for his mistake soon after he landed. Clearly they value the plane more then the pilots that fly them.
  • Tainted by the Preview: The fans are not happy about the movie's trailer. If you didn't know better, you'd swear it was actually a parody of In Name Only adaptations that only exist to jump on the bandwagon of young adult dystopias. This lightened up a bit on the movie's release, as it's far less action-heavy than the trailers let on.
  • Tearjerker: What happened to Rosemary is bad enough, but when you find out that she was The Giver's daughter, and that he watched her "being released," and that HE plans on "being released" himself now that he's finished teaching Jonas, it takes on a whole new level of depressing.
    • The fact that Jonas's parents—and everyone else but the Giver in the book—is ignorant to the idea of love. It's so difficult to fathom— parents who don't actually love their children is a hard concept to swallow. The delivery of it was so simple too; not dramatic and heart-wrenching which made it even harder to read.
  • This Is Your Premise on Drugs: "Scopolamine of the soul," to quote the author. The drug has multiple uses, but what she meant is that the society depicted has numbed itself to feeling.
  • Uncanny Valley
  • The Woobie: Poor, poor Rosemary...
    • Jonas as well. The poor guy eventually starts to break down, when he realizes that he can't express the new things he knows and feels to his friends or family. His best friend becomes impatient with him after inadvertently triggering Jonas's memory of dying in a war and brushes it off when Jonas tries to explain why he's upset. Jonas's parents scold him for using imprecise language when he asks them "do you love me?" And then, he finds out that his father - a kind man who Jonas always thought of as being good with kids - cheerfully euthanizes babies who don't measure up to the community's criteria. Even worse, he learns that his dad has every intention of doing this to a baby that had been living in their house and who they'd all been bonding with. Jeez!

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