The Giver Literary Analysis

Instructor: Rachel Noorda
This lesson discusses the genre, characters, point of view, setting, and conflict of Lois Lowry's The Giver. When you finish this lesson, you will understand that The Giver is a young adult novel set in a futuristic dystopian society, and centered around the conflict of free agency.

Literary Criticism

Literary criticism is a form of interpreting literature. Literary criticism examines the different elements of the piece of literature, including genre, characters, point of view, setting, and conflict. So in the lesson, it's fitting that we'll be looking at the genre, characters, point of view, setting, and conflict for Lois Lowry's The Giver.

Genre in The Giver

The Giver is a young adult dystopian novel. This means that it is written at a level suitable for readers from twelve to eighteen years old. It also means that it is set in a world where people tried to make a perfect society and failed. Dystopian is a term that means a failed utopia, or perfect society. The genre of The Giver is important because it sets the stage for the main conflict of the book: free agency.

Characters in The Giver

Jonas: the main character in The Giver, a twelve-year-old boy who gets assigned the job of being the new Receiver of Memories.

The Giver: the current Receiver of Memories and the trainer of Jonas to be the new Receiver of Memories.

Fiona: the girl that Jonas likes. She is his same age and he starts having dreams about her, so his parents make him take pills for the 'stirrings' to stop his sexual desires.

Lily: Jonas's sister, an eight-year old girl.

Asher: Jonas's best friend.

Gabriel: a baby who stays with Jonas's family for a while and who Jonas saves from getting killed at the end of the book. Because Jonas has blue eyes, and because Gabriel has blue eyes, and because there is only one birth mother who has blue eyes, it is hinted that Jonas and Gabriel might be biological brothers.

Point of View in The Giver

The Giver is told from third-person limited point of view. This means that the story is told by a narrator who only knows the thoughts and feelings of the main character. In The Giver this main character is Jonas. The narrator knows Jonas's thoughts and feelings, but not the thoughts and feelings of other characters. Third-person limited point of view contributes to the story of The Giver because the narrator doesn't know some of the horrible things going on in Jonas's society until Jonas finds out.

Setting in The Giver

The setting of The Giver is a futuristic dystopian society. This society is not given a name, but it is well organized and structured. We know that the society of The Giver is in the future because the Giver transfers society's memories to Jonas, and these are memories that might be from our day in the twenty-first century.

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