Fiona in The Giver: Character Analysis & Traits

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  • 0:03 Who Is Fiona?
  • 0:34 Jonas' Stirrings Begin
  • 1:55 Fiona Becomes a Big Sister
  • 2:59 Caretaker of the Old
  • 4:09 Red Hair and Love
  • 4:51 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
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'll 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 citizens in this dystopian story are conditioned, people don't really love. When Jonas is selected as the Receiver, or the holder of memories and emotions for the whole society, he realizes his love for Fiona. But, she won't be able to return that love.

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 jobs. After they worked together in the House of Old, where 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 bathe 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 pills 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 can 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're 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's well-placed as a Caretaker of the Old because she is such a sweet and thoughtful person.

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