The Giver Chapter 5 Summary & Quotes

Instructor: Erica Schimmel

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

In chapter 5 of Lois Lowry's The Giver, Jonas experiences feelings he has never had before. This summary will cover chapter 5 and review some important quotations.

Tell Us Your Dream

Jonas's family is conducting their morning ritual dream-telling at the beginning of chapter 5 in Lois Lowry's The Giver. Unlike his younger sister, Lily, Jonas does not usually have much to say during this ritual since he rarely dreams. Last night, however, Jonas had a very vivid dream.

Both Lily and Jonas's mother share dreams that reflect events which happened earlier in the novel. Lily had a dream in which Security Guards caught her riding her mother's bicycle. The family 'listened carefully and discussed with Lily the warning that the dream had given.' We know from earlier chapters that children are not allowed to ride a bike before they are given their own when they become a Nine. Even though this is one of the minor rules that is almost always broken and rarely punished, Lily's dream is still frightening because it serves as a warning, or reminder, of how important it is to follow the rules in their community.

Mother's dream also reflects a conversation from earlier in the novel, when the family was conducting their evening ritual sharing of feelings. During that conversation, we learned that Mother works for the Department of Justice. She had felt sad and upset when a man had been brought before her who had broken the rules for a second time. This morning, she shares her 'dream fragment, a disquieting scene where she had been chastised for a rule infraction she didn't understand.' The family determines she had this dream as a reaction to her feelings concerning the man who broke the rules.

Jonas's Dream

When they come to Jonas's turn, the family is surprised that he has a dream to share today. Clearly uncomfortable, Jonas begins to try and describe his dream setting, which he believes was the House of the Old. Father points out Jonas spent his volunteer hours at the House of the Old the day before, along with his friends, Asher and Fiona, helping to bathe the Old.

The dream House of the Old was different, though. Instead of rows of tubs, only one tub was in the room. And the only two people in the warm, dream room were Jonas and Fiona. Even though it is against the rules for children and adults to see each other naked, in the dream, Jonas had wanted her to get in the tub so he could bathe her. However, Fiona would not let him. He feels embarrassed and uncomfortable about sharing the dream, but knows he is required to tell his parents all the details.

Father asks Jonas if he can remember 'the strongest feeling' he had in the dream. Jonas takes some time to think about how to accurately convey the feeling: 'wanting.' As is custom, after Jonas shares, his family thanks him for his dream. What is unusual is that they do not discuss his dream before thanking him. Surprised, Jonas wonders if his parents are also confused by the dream.

The Stirrings

Mother asks Jonas to stay behind while Father and Lily leave. She reassures Jonas she will write an apology letter to his teacher so that he will not have to publicly apologize for being late. He waits while Mother cleans up the kitchen. When she finally sits back down, she explains that his 'wanting' feeling in the dream is what they call Stirrings. These feelings are perfectly normal, and his parents have been waiting for them to happen to him.

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