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Fiona in The Giver: Character Analysis & Traits

Instructor: Kerry Gray

Kerry has been a teacher and an administrator for more than twenty years. She has a Master of Education degree.

Fiona is the closest female friend of Jonas in the Lois Lowry novel 'The Giver'. In this lesson, we will learn more about her character and find out why she is so meaningful to Jonas.

Who Is Fiona?

What if you loved someone who couldn't love you back? What if that person didn't even know how?

Fiona is a classmate and love interest of Jonas, the main character in Lois Lowry's novel, The Giver. Because of how the society in this dystopian story are conditioned, people don't really love. When Jonas is selected as the holder of memories and emotions for the whole society, he realizes his love for Fiona. But she will not be able to return his love. In this lesson, we will learn more about Fiona from the Lois Lowry novel, The Giver.

Jonas' Stirrings Begin

Early on, before Jonas is selected as the Receiver, the narrator describes his feelings toward Fiona. Lowry writes, 'Jonas liked Fiona. She was a good student, quiet and polite, but she had a sense of fun as well.'

Jonas and Fiona must serve a certain number of volunteer hours in the community before being assigned their permanent job. After Jonas and Fiona worked together in the House of Old, the place people go at an advanced age to be taken care of until their release, Jonas has his first Stirring, or sexual feeling.

As volunteers, Fiona and Jonas bathed elderly people. That night, Jonas dreams that he wants to bathe Fiona. 'I wanted her to take off her clothes and get into the tub,'…'I wanted to bathe her. I had the sponge in my hand. But she wouldn't. She kept laughing and saying no,' Jonas retells his family during their morning dream-sharing ritual. Having sexual feelings means that Jonas will need to begin taking pills to control his 'wanting.'

Jonas and Fiona are still very young, and Fiona serves as a catalyst for Jonas' first normal, adolescent crush. The community's response to feelings is to suppress them with a pill. Eventually, Jonas chooses to stop taking his pill and feels real love for Fiona, but without memories of love, Fiona has no capacity to love him back.

Fiona Becomes a Big Sister

Because of their birth order, Fiona and Jonas sit next to each other during ceremonies. At the Ceremony of Twelve, where all Elevens (11 year olds) are promoted to the next age and given their adult work assignments, Fiona arrives later than the others because her family receives a new child.

In their community, as many as one boy and one girl may be assigned to a family unit. The child is named by the nurturing center and assigned to a family in a naming ceremony in front of the community. 'When her family's ceremony is complete, Fiona takes the seat that had been saved for her in the row ahead of Asher and Jonas. She turns and whispers to them, 'He's cute. But I don't like his name very much.' She made a face and giggled. Fiona's new brother had been named Bruno.'

In this section, Fiona's character provides an avenue for giving more information to the reader about the degree to which order is valued over individualism in this community. Frankly, they are all 'just a number.' Citizens are not given any choices, even when it comes to the size of their family and the names of their children.

Caretaker of the Old

As Fiona is called up to receive her assignment during the Ceremony of Twelve, 'Jonas knows she must be nervous, but Fiona is a calm female. She had been sitting quietly, serenely, throughout the Ceremony.' Jonas believes she is well-placed as a Caretaker of the Old because she is such a sweet and thoughtful person.

Fiona takes her job seriously and prefers her training to traditional school. Fiona explains that she is a bit surprised by some of the things her new job entails, '…did you know they use a discipline wand on the Old, the same as for small children?'

When Jonas learns that 'release' means death, he is appalled that his sweet friend would be able to participate in something so terrible. 'She loves the Old! She's in training to care for them' cries Jonas. But the Giver responds that 'Fiona is already being trained in the fine art of release. She's very efficient at her work, your red-haired friend. Feelings are not part of the life she's learned.'

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