The Giver Chapter 17 Summary & Quotes

Instructor: Kerry Gray

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

In this lesson, we will summarize Chapter 17 of 'The Giver' by Lois Lowry. We'll also look at a few key quotes from this chapter, in which Jonas begins to see how his new role isolates him.


At this point in the story, Jonas has been assigned to be the Receiver of Memory for his community. In this futuristic society, all emotion has been suppressed in an effort to achieve sameness. The community recognizes that one revered person, Jonas, should be assigned to keep the memories of the past to help the elders make educated decisions. Jonas is not allowed to share the things that he learns. No one else in the community has a context to understand things like grief, fear, anger, joy, passion, and color. In Chapter 17 of The Giver by Lois Lowry, we learn more about the isolation Jonas feels as the only member of the community who has experienced emotion.


The community declares an unscheduled holiday. Days like this are a special treat as no one has to go to school or work. Jonas rides his bicycle out to find his friends. Four weeks earlier, Jonas stopped taking his pills to control his stirrings. Stirrings are normal sexual feelings that arrive in adolescence but are controlled by taking pills throughout a person's life. After receiving memories of feelings, Jonas no longer wants to suppress his. 'Thinking, as he always did, about precision of language, Jonas realized that it was a new depth of feelings that he was experiencing.' Anticipating being with his friends on this unexpected holiday, Jonas feels happy.

Jonas feels happy as he rides his bike to meet his friends.

The Game of War

When Jonas meets up with his friends, they are playing a game of war. They have played this game many times before, but Jonas did not recognize it as war before he began to receive memories because no one in the community knew about war. Jonas thinks about a boy he saw dying from war wounds in a memory and begins to cry. Most of the other kids run away, but Jonas' closest friends, Asher and Fiona stay. 'What's wrong, Jonas? It was only a game,' Fiona said.

'You ruined it,' Asher said in an irritated voice.

'Don't play it anymore,' Jonas pleaded.

Not understanding Jonas' perspective, Asher and Fiona offer to do something else, but Jonas refuses. He realizes that he doesn't fit in their world anymore.

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