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Pat Swenson, CSUN - The Giver
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Prof Pat Swenson

Campus Email: pat.swenson@csun.edu

Elements of Fiction

Literary Theory

Myth & Archetype: The Hero's Quest

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Department Information

Department of English

708 Sierra Tower
Phone: 818.677.3431

English Department Website

Liberal Studies Program

EA 100
Phone: 818.677.3300

Liberal Studies Website

The Giver by Lois Lowry - Discussion Guide



Jonas, Father, Mother, Lily, Asher, Gabriel

The Giver, The Elders, Fiona, Larissa, Chief Elder

The Committee, The Speaker, Annex Attendant, Caretaker, Rosemary


Person-against-self - an internal conflict of feelings.

Person-against-person - the typical protagonist vs. antagonist scenario.

Person-against-society - the protagonist battles against the larger organizations of society
(or a system of beliefs held by society).

Person-against-nature - the protagonist is threatened by a component of nature.

The "Community"

What are the rules?

What are the roles of the citizens?

Explain the various "ceremonies" that take place.

Explain the concept of being "released" and "elsewhere."

How did the community feel about these?

What does Jonas come to believe and feel about them?

Symbols: Eye Color

Why do only a few members of the community have light colored eyes?

What "special powers" might these people have?

Which characters have light colored eyes?


When Jonas starts to "see" some things differently (the apple, Fiona's hair, the audience), what is he really seeing?

How do these references to "seeing" help to foreshadow the upcoming events?

How does the foreshadowing create tension and interest?

Significance of Key Terms

Family Units, Sharing of dreams and feelings, House of the Old, First Stirrings, Sameness vs. Individuality, Comfort Objects, Birthmothers

The Giver

What are the responsibilities of "The Giver" and "The Receiver?"

Describe the relationship between Jonas and The Giver.

The Book's Ending

By book's end, is Jonas safe?

Will the community be forever changed?