Follow TV Tropes


WMG / The Giver

Go To

The Chief Elder in the Film has some memories or connection of sorts with the older world, possibly due to a relationship with The Giver
At Fiona's release, she seems adamant about keeping Sameness, and in her Utopia Justifies the Means speech to The Giver, she shows a startling amount of knowledge about the old world and the horrors it contained. Also, the scene where she sees Fiona and Jonas kissing, while the other Elders look at it with confusion, she seems to know more about the implications of their act. Lowry even points out the movie hints to a relationship between the two, so it is possible that during that time, The Giver shared memories of the old world with her, only she became frightful and resistant against it. It is even possible that the Chief Elder by law has knowledge about the old world as well, but this is kept a secret.
  • The Chief Elder took in memories when Rosemary died.
    • Even so, she seems to be more knowledgeable about things than the other elders, who are probably of the same age. During the kiss scene, while the others look upon it with confusion, she seems to know the implication of the act. Also, during the first meeting between the Elder and the Giver, The Giver remarks that sharing memories is a rule that is commonly broken, and seems to hint that he did it with her when they were young.

The Community trades nuclear energy for food and raw materials with the outside world.
Since their technologies are generally more advanced than the First World of the 20th century, It's possible to conclude the creator of the Community is a technocratic utopian group. Something such as a world war or a massive natural disaster happened globally after they secluded themselves, so no one have the spare time or guts to invade them.
  • Son shows that some sort of trade or something happens with other communities, but the details are never explained. The group that ships goods to the Community is at least of some technological standing (although it is never expanded on).
  • The book never goes into detail of how technologically advanced/delayed the community is other than it' the same. Some of the stuff gives hints of it being decent tech with the speakers etc. However later sequels do show us other communities are much less advanced. But given when this series takes place, clearly certain groups took what was left of the technology more than others.

There are "Birthmothers," but no "Birthfathers" . . .
Because the male Elders father the children. The old-fashioned way. They're the leaders—why should they bother to suppress the "stirrings"? They can probably justify it to themselves because their superior Elder genes should be passed on to future generations. The female Elders, on the other hand, don't want to be waddling around for nine months, so they either take the pills or use birth control.
  • Jossed by Word of God at least with regards to the children being produced by sexual intercourse. No word on the fathers of the children.

The Giver is the biological father of all children with pale eyes.
He's a sperm donor, like other men in the Community, and his seed is "sown" at regular intervals over the years so that there's always at least one apt Receiver - not all potential Receivers might start Seeing Beyond, for instance, and a baby could end up being Released (as Gabriel nearly was). That's how they inherited the pale eyes and the capacity for receiving memory. The Giver knows this, and knows this is how it's been done, back and back and back; the children have no idea.
  • Very likely. But I'd say the Giver himself is just another descendant of the original receiver that was probably involved in the creation of the community. They'd keep taking DNA from any descendants that reached adulthood and keep the line going that way.

The Giver takes place in the Firefly Universe.
This particular planet was an Alliance experiment in progress - constantly monitored with a drugged populace, and no contact with the outside world, much like Miranda. Only this time, with more careful application of the drugs, and genetic engineering, things go much more smoothly. Being a Reader like River was deliberately tied to having pale eyes, so the Giver and Jonas (and Gabe) are Readers who have taken their telepathy to a highly specialized, but powerful level.
  • But River's eyes are brown. And not a particularly light brown either.
    • Because she existed before the modifications were perfected.

The Giver takes place in the Discworld universe, possibly a secluded corner of the Disc itself.
The Auditors of the Universe demand balance for everything, and The Community exists to balance out Ankh-Morpork, which wallows in human nature. Literally. Thus, the Community is everything bustling, colorful, creative, smelly Ankh-Morpork isn't.

The book is an allegory for the Garden of Eden story.
The people live in a utopian society, with no pain, lust, hunger etc. Yet a supposedly good man kills a baby cheerfully. They key point is that what they lack, and what Jonas tries to give them, is *knowledge of good and evil*. This knowledge would make their society impossible, hence evicting them from the garden. (There is even an apple which plays a role in Jonas acquiring the knowledge which he tries to pass on - implying he is Eve rather than Satan.)I actually have Word of God (via e-mail) on this - she said something like 'an interesting idea, I haven't heard that one before.' But due to Death of the Author, we don't have to care about that.
  • I may be an Atheist, but I think this is the best allegory ever.
    • Maybe that's why.

Birthmothers aren't really necessary.
As stated on the main page, the community's methods of population control are not viable in the long term. So they must be capable of developing new life artificially. They only give birth to some babies the old fashioned way because people still remember how it used to be done, and might ask questions if that changed. It's possible that the only girls who are assigned to be Birthmothers are the ones who might otherwise rebel. If their years of pampering don't keep them quiet, they will be physically unable to cause much trouble during their pregnancies. Then they are reassigned as Laborers, which presumably keeps them isolated from the rest of the Community.

Gabriel has a developmental delay.
It explains why he couldn't learn things as quickly as the other newchildren. However, it makes the community's plans to "release" him for being so delayed all the more tragic.
  • Or Gabe has autism. Further supported by an inability to track toys with his eyes.
    • I don't think that does support it. Autism is usually associated with issues with eye contact, not tracking inanimate objects; unless we're talking a sensory overload situation, most Autistic people can track objects fine.
  • Son also reveals that there was something physically not quite right with his Birthmother, enough that she was reassigned over it. It's never explained beyond that, but complications in pregnancy or delivery could have caused some problem in Gabriel's development. (In some ways, the idea that the two are connected seems to make more sense than random coincidence.)

Gabriel was premature
Jonas' father mentions that Gabriel is also not growing well physically. And if you read carefully, Son says that Gabriel was born nine months after his mother was inseminated, when a full term pregnancy would be closer to nine-and-a-half or ten. If he was late pre-term rather than full-term, he might not have obvious complications, but it could account for his physical and mental delays, especially right at the beginning. Since those things tend to even out by the time the child is a few years old, it would explain why Gabriel doesn't seem to have issues in Messenger or the latter part of Son.

The World of The Giver Is Our world.
The only difference is the existence of a single "country"note . To the outside, it's just another third word countrynote . The Elders make sure everyone thinks of it that way.

The population has for the most part lost the ability to see color due to genetic manipulation of the rods and cones in their eyes.
In the eye, the cones allow color to be seen, while rods only show things in black and white. Perhaps the genetic scientists had, over generations, prevented the cones from fully functioning so that seeing color is not an option. In some individuals, as a recessive gene, the cones aren't fully disabled, and they begin to reactivate over time. The receiving of memories just helps it along.
  • If your eyes only have rods you end up with achromatopsia. Achromatopsia isn't just black and white vision. It also makes you photophobic and visually impaired. It doesn't seem like the characters in The Giver have those other symptoms.

At the end, Jonas has gone back in time and created a time loop.
The memories started out as memories of real people. At some point during his journey, Jonas is transported to a time before the communities. He then experiences the sled ride, and, knowing something of what will happen in the future, finds someone with pale eyes and trains that person to receive memories. Others eventually add their own memories until the time when the communities are created. At that point, one or more of these people present themselves and are given the position that the Giver will have at the time the book takes place.
The book takes place in the present day
It is possible that it takes place in some seceded part of the world, and nobody knows it. This explains the plane at the beginning of the book, as well as the flier's release.
  • But the fact that Jonas knows what the plane is seems to imply that airplanes are known within the community. The community leaders seem to be very good at controlling their world, to the extent that if there is anything outside no one has to know about it. So no one is made aware of it.
  • North Korea, anyone?

The Hunger Games is a sequel to The Giver universe
After Jonas leaves, the Community rebels against Sameness and the newly installed government takes control and begins The Hunger Games. Jonas' new community is District 13.

Anthem takes place in the community after Jonas leaves
Think about it, both stories feature a "utopia" that uses regulated names and careers to decide which people will do jobs best suited for them and end ambiguously with a character escaping and finding somewhere new to live (although the giver is far more ambiguous at a glance, the logbook style writing of anthem leaves open whether or not Prometheus actually succeeded or if he lived up to his name and was killed)After he leaves, the government becomes more strict, and changes certain things, completely eradicating the giver and receiver careers, and replacing the birth mother career with an annual mating ceremony.

At the end of the novel, Jonas collapses out of unconsciousness, and is discovered by a community from Elsewhere
The hill that Jonas found was the hill that the town children played on, and by mistake one child accidentally left their sled there that afternoon. After sliding down it, Jonas's consciousness finally gives way, and the lights of the town at night mix with the memories of Christmas. After seeing their collapsed bodies on the street, the family which the sled belonged to took him and Gabriel in.
  • Hinted at in Gathering Blue, heavily implied in Messenger, and confirmed in Son. Although we don't know if Jonas passed out or not, we do know that another community took him in.
  • It's likely while he really did find the place he could have been hallucinating a bit at the very end of the book given what he had just gone through.

The book takes place in an alternate universe's present-day Canada.
In this alternate universe, Canada shut off the rest of the world to defect to Sameness. While more modern memories are said to have taken place hundreds of years ago, these are simply false memories that whoever rules the "country" has implanted even into the Receiver/Giver's mind. At the end of the book, when Jonas and Gabe collapse on the hill, they are found by a caroling family from Detroit/Seattle/Buffalo, and are taken in by them.

If Son is made into a movie...
Robert Carlyle will play Trademaster.

Divergent is the society which crumbled and led to The Giver
  • After they realised that faction system didn't work, they decided to got Sameness and get rid of individuality.

The Community has purposely allowed some citizens to be slightly different without fear of Release.

Most people have been genetically engineered to have dark eyes, no developmental delays, and so forth. However, the Elders allow some differences so no one will make the connection that any difference equals Release, which equals disappearance. The differences also ensure that Sameness does not obliterate personality traits and other unique aspects. This is why Jonas and several other children have pale eyes. It's also why Asher is still alive even though he had hand-eye and speech issues when he was little. His problems weren't considered severe enough for euthanasia. On the other hand, Gabe's problems were considered severe and a threat to Sameness.

Stirrings are allowed in some cases for brief periods.

If you don't subscribe to the theory that Elders are Birth Fathers, there is also the theory that Birthmothers are allowed to experience Stirrings during the time that they are having babies. Birthmothers are still arbitrarily paired with fathers, but the sexual arousal allows for intercourse and conception. Once the Birthmothers have had their three allotted children, they return to the pills. There is also the theory that...

  • Confirmed in 'Son'' that Birthmoters are told not to take the pill once they receive their assignment and until they give birth, but are put back on the pill shortly thereafter until it's time for them to go off it again for the next birth.
    • This doesn't necessarily mean the Community wants Stirrings to be allowed in that time — it's possible that the pill, which might be a hormonal suppressant, happens to inhibit conception as a side effect, so it has to be skipped to allow pregnancy.
    • Probably it wouldn't be able to suppress hormones completely. That would cause people not to go through puberty, like hormone blockers for trans kids. Possibly it's like birth control in that it could be harmful for a pregnancy or anti-depressants, both of which can suppress sex drive, and both of which aren't usually advised to take during pregnancy.

Birthmothers are artificially inseminated.

This guarantees that sexual arousal and the complications thereof, as well as the complications of biological vs. "adoptive" parents never enter the picture.

Gabriel had no developmental delays at all.

This seems to be the reason he was scheduled for Release, and there is some evidence to support this, especially that he doesn't always sleep through the night. But note that Gabe sleeps well while in Jonas' room. Also note that he meets several other important baby milestones on time. Perhaps the Community wanted to release him not because of delays, but because he was getting attached to Jonas' family unit. Persistent attachment would complicate things for everyone involved in Gabe's life, which means the whole Community. As a baby, Gabe would not be seen as breaking rules, but he would be considered somewhat dangerous. His pale eyes may play a role, especially after Jonas begins giving him memories. In fact, it could be that Gabe's crying and fretfulness could have become a reaction to memories, and the Community Elders got suspicious.

  • Perhaps because they thought Jonas was to be the new receiver, they didn't need another person who could have the gift in the community. And as i turns out he does have it and a wholly separate gift as seen in Son.

The Chief Elder was the Giver's assigned wife.

Seems to be implied in the movie (obviously this theory doesn't really work for the book), when she and the Giver were discussing Rosemary. The Chief Elder says something like, "I know very well what her name was" which this troper took as a hint that she knew Rosemary personally. We know the Giver is allowed to apply for a wife and children (there's another thought- what if he had had two children? What happened to the other one?) because the Giver tells Jonas that he may do so one day if he chooses. If he was assigned a daughter, he would have first been assigned a wife, assuming that the Giver has to follow the same community rules as everyone else when it comes to family units.

  • What if Gabriel was supposed to be The Giver's son? It never says how long you have to wait to have your two children (we see Fiona and Asher get their siblings when they're twelve), maybe the Giver is only given pale-eyed children so they have to wait until one comes along?
    • Highly probable but not confirmed. The community's model clearly needs a receiver, passing on the original's gene to hope of creating kids with that gift seem an obvious thing to work into the system from day one.

The different Communities are related to the Vaults from Fallout in some form.

The caroling family is from a different Community with different laws than the one Jonas lives in - just like the Vaults.

Telepathy was involved in the rise of the Community
The actual process of Giving is unexplained. Perhaps it's just something certain people can do and has always been in our world, or it's the result of genetic engineering or something supernatural. In any case, maybe the discovery or invention of telepathy somehow lead to so much trouble and chaos that Communities were formed to solve things in a post-apocalyptic world — like how Vulcans developed a logic-oriented way of life so that their extreme emotions wouldn't get the better of them. The film adaption is the strongest evidence for something like this, because at the end, when Jonas crosses a barrier many miles outside the Community, the whole place is flooded with memories of the past.
  • This seems very probable. The community itself needs a receiver of memory to function. So no doubt the original receiver himself/herself was more than likely in on it and became a spermdoner/birthmother with the full intent of passing on his "gift"(as the powers are described later in the series) on to other generations. The blue eyes being an oddity to the community could be left in to identify the people who are descendents of the line and may grow up to be candidates to be the next receiver.

Everybody is overthinking it, and the book isn't an allegory of anything.
It doesn't make much sense to interpret the book as a cautionary tale of utopian schemes, since the Community could not exist without magic. Lois Lowry just wanted to write about a world devoid of emotions, and set up the backstory to justify it, especially when one includes the sequels, which show more of this world. As for everything else, blame your English teachers.

It's actually an allegory for sexual assault and the cycle of abuse.
The Giver gives memories to Jonas by... having Jonas take off his shirt in front of him and he places his hands on his bare back, which gives Jonas memories and emotions he doesn't know how to comprehend. When Jonas realises he can do the same to Gabriel, he is of course confused. The society is heavily puritanical (to the point of trying to suppress peoples' sexualities) yet The Giver is so important he can essentially get away with molesting little kids. One of the kids who was intended to be the next Giver committed suicide cause she didn't know how to handle it all. By running away, Jonas attempts to break the cycle, cause he would probably end up molesting Gabriel the same way The Giver molested him. This is how people who are "important" to society get away with sexual assault and how it can be covered up - and how he would end up perpetuating this cycle of sexual abuse.

How well does it match the trope?

Example of:


Media sources: