The Giver Book Series: Summary & Themes

Instructor: Rachel Noorda
The Giver quartet, or series of four books by Lois Lowry, consists of ''The Giver'', ''Gathering Blue'', ''The Messenger'' and ''Son''. This lesson summarizes the plots of the four books and talks about the main themes within these novels.

Summaries of The Giver Series

The Giver series is a four-book series written by Lois Lowry. It is a dystopian science fiction series for young adults. Unlike other book series, the books are very loosely connected, and do not have the same character as the main character in each book.

Summary of The Giver

Jonas is the main character of this novel. He is a twelve-year-old boy who lives in a society that is very strongly regulated by the government and with few individual liberties. At Jonas's sorting ceremony to decide his profession, he gets told he will be the receiver, someone who is wise and collects memories, serving as a repository of sorts for these memories. Jonas goes to regular meetings with the Giver, an old man who was the old receiver for the society. Jonas learns about pain, suffering, and sacrifice through these meetings with the Giver; these are feelings that other people in the society have never felt before. But Jonas also start to learn about the evil parts of his society: that old people are killed when they reach a certain age and that babies who are not adjusting normally or have problems are also killed. Jonas decides he cannot stay in a society like that. He takes with him a baby who he got attached to, Gabriel, who was going to be killed because he was not sleeping properly.

Summary of Gathering Blue

Kira is the main character in Gathering Blue. She has a deformed leg and in Kira's society, people with disabilities are left in the field to die. But Kira's mother has protected her from death. However, when Kira's mother dies, Kira goes in front of a council to decide her fate. When the council discovers that Kira has a talent for embroidery, they allow her to live if she will embroider robes for a famous singer. In her new job, Kira becomes friends with a boy named Matt.

At first, it seems that people with gifts, like Kira's embroidery talent, have a great life because they are taken care of by the council, but Kira finds out that the singer is chained and forced to sing. Kira's friend Matt leaves the community and finds another community. He brings news that Kira's father is alive and that in this other community, disabled people are not killed, but they support each other. Matt tells Kira that there is a boy her age in the new village, a boy with blue eyes who is Jonas from The Giver. In the end, Kira decides to stay in her society instead of going to the new village, but Matt agrees to be a messenger between Kira and her father in the other village.

Summary of The Messenger

This novel begins with Matt, from Gathering Blue, who lives with the village seer, Kira's father. In this book, the forest acts like a character, a character that is agitated when the book begins. Not only is the forest discontented, but the villagers who were once kind and generous become agitated and want to close their borders instead of letting anyone seek asylum in the village. As this discord starts to happen, the seer sends Matt to go get Kira (from Gathering Blue in the other village). Matt gets Kira, but on the way back through the forest, they get attacked by the forest. The leader of the village, Jonas from The Giver, can sense that Kira and Matt are in trouble and so he goes into the forest to save them. When the leader also gets taken by the forest, Matt gets angry and finds out that he has a gift to heal people. He uses his gift to heal the forest.

To unlock this lesson you must be a Member.
Create your account

Register to view this lesson

Are you a student or a teacher?

Unlock Your Education

See for yourself why 30 million people use

Become a member and start learning now.
Become a Member  Back
What teachers are saying about
Try it now

Earning College Credit

Did you know… We have over 220 college courses that prepare you to earn credit by exam that is accepted by over 1,500 colleges and universities. You can test out of the first two years of college and save thousands off your degree. Anyone can earn credit-by-exam regardless of age or education level.

To learn more, visit our Earning Credit Page

Transferring credit to the school of your choice

Not sure what college you want to attend yet? has thousands of articles about every imaginable degree, area of study and career path that can help you find the school that's right for you.

Create an account to start this course today
Used by over 30 million students worldwide
Create an account