Gabriel 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.

Gabriel is the new child that comes to live with Jonas' family in hopes that they can give him the nurturing he needs to meet milestones during his first year of life. In this lesson, we will learn more about Gabriel from 'The Giver' by Lois Lowry.

Failure to Thrive

Jonas' father is a Nurturer in the Nurturing Center. His job is to take care of babies during their first year and make sure they are ready to be assigned to a family unit. One evening, Father mentions that he is concerned about one of the male children at the center who is being considered for release because he is not thriving. Thinking the child would have a better chance of making it if he were with a family at night rather than with the night crew at the Nurturing Center, Father gets permission to bring him home in the evenings. In this lesson, we will learn more about the baby boy that is being nurtured by Jonas' family in The Giver by Lois Lowry.

If Gabriel does not grow, he will be released.

Gabriel Comes Home

Jonas' family is sympathetic when Father tells them about the possible release of a baby at the center. 'There were only two occasions of release which were not punishments. Release of the elderly, which was a time of celebration for a life well and fully lived; and the release of a new child, which always brought a sense of what-could-we-have-done.' As a Nurturer, Father would see the release as a failure; therefore, he tries to do everything he can to keep it from happening. The boy has not been named, yet, but Father feels like the personal touch of a name could help him, so Father does the unthinkable and looks up his name on the Naming List. Gabriel needs to learn to sleep through the night and needs to grow. Will Jonas' family be able to help him?

Gabriel Sees Beyond

The first thing Lily and Jonas notice about him is that he has light eyes. 'Now, seeing the new child and its expression, he was reminded that the light eyes were not only a rarity but gave the one who had them a certain look--what was it? Depth, he decided; as if one were looking into the clear water of the river, down to the bottom, where things might lurk which hadn't been discovered yet.' Later, Jonas learns that light eyes are a trait that people who can 'See Beyond' share. Jonas' eyes are what first caused the Committee of Elders to consider him as the Receiver of Memories.

Even though Gabriel is just an infant, his gift is apparent. Jonas is unable to transmit memories to his sister, Lily, but when he gives memories to Gabriel, the new child sleeps soundly. Jonas begins having Gabriel sleep in his room at night and things start looking up for Gabriel.

Gabriel is Scheduled for Release

On the night that Jonas learns that when his father releases babies, he is actually killing them by lethal injection, Jonas is so upset that he spends the night with the Giver. When he returns the next day, he finds out that Father's attempt to leave him at the Nurturing Center overnight while Jonas was gone was a dismal failure. Gabriel cried all night. The decision has been made to release Gabriel tomorrow morning.

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