The Giver Chapter 14 Summary & Quotes

Instructor: Erica Schimmel

Erica has taught college English writing and literature courses and has a master's degree in children's literature.

For the first time, training involves memories of real pain, and Jonas begins to learn more about why there is a Receiver of Memory. This lesson will summarize chapter 14 of Lois Lowry's The Giver, including some important quotations.

Back On a Sled

Do you remember the first time you felt pain? Jonas has never had to feel anything more than minor pain. When he was selected to be the new Receiver of Memory, the Chief Elder warned him his new position would involve pain, but The Giver has not given Jonas a memory with anything worse than a sunburn. Until now.

At the beginning of chapter 14 in Lois Lowry's The Giver, Jonas is sitting on a sled. He has received a memory of sledding before, but the hill in this memory seems steeper, and ''the snow beneath the sled was not thick and soft as it had been before, but hard, and coated with bluish ice.'' While those of us reading might see this is a warning sign, Jonas only has the one memory of sledding, and so he is excited for another ride.

Unfortunately, it does not take long for the sled ride to start going wrong. Jonas cannot steer on the ice, and soon he is ''no longer enjoying the feeling of freedom, but instead, terrified, was at the mercy of the wild acceleration downward over the ice.'' The sled hits a bump and Jonas goes flying through the air. He lands with ''his leg twisted under him, and could hear the crack of bone.''

Most of us have experienced something similar to what Jonas is going through now. The pain is almost overwhelming. Through the pain, he ''perceives the word 'fire' and felt flames licking at the torn bone and flesh.'' As hard as he tries, he cannot move away from the pain.

Jonas feels his leg is on fire

Back in The Giver's room, Jonas wakes from the memory. Though the worst is gone, his leg still hurts. Tearfully, he asks if he can have relief-of-pain, medicine which has always been ''provided in his everyday life for the bruises and wounds, for a mashed finger, a stomach ache, a skinned knee from a fall from a bike.'' The Giver, though, cannot give Jonas medicine for this pain.

Nobody can - Jonas cannot receive ''medication for anything related to his training.'' He cannot talk about his training, either, and so he cannot share how he is feeling with his family unit that evening. Lying in bed, he realizes none of his family members have ever felt pain the way he now has, and ''the realization made him feel desperately lonely.''

How the Wisdom is Used

Now that Jonas has been introduced to pain, every training session includes some kind of painful memories - some even more painful than the broken leg. Though The Giver tries to end each session with a positive memory, Jonas struggles with the pain he is ''beginning, now, to know.''

One day, after receiving a memory of extreme hunger, Jonas demands to know why there needs to be a Receiver. The Giver explains that through these memories, they gain the wisdom they need to advise the Committee of Elders.

The last time the Committee called on The Giver, an unknown plane had flown over the community. The Committee wanted to shoot at the plane, but The Giver remembered ''times in the past - terrible times - when people had destroyed others in haste, in fear, and had brought about their own destruction.'' Because of this wisdom, he recommended against shooting down the plane.

The Giver used wisdom to advise against shooting down the plane

Wouldn't it be easier if everyone had the memories? Then the burden on the Receiver would not be so great. But The Giver points out that it would mean everyone would also know pain. And that, he says, is ''the real reason The Receiver is so vital to them, and so honored. They selected me - and you - to lift that burden from themselves.''

Gabriel Spends the Night with Jonas

Although Gabriel, the newchild who has been spending nights with Jonas' family, has been growing well, he is still restless at night. Despite all the effort Jonas' father has put in, he is worried the Committee will decide to release Gabriel after all.

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