The Giver

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The Giver Chapter 13 Summary & Analysis

Summary
Analysis
Jonas soon becomes angry that color has been removed from his world. He tells The Giver that he wants to choose things for himself, like which color shirt to wear in the morning. The Giver responds that choice was taken away to prevent people from making the wrong choices. Jonas realizes that there could be choices more important than choosing what color to wear that could have terrible consequences. Even so, he's not fully satisfied with The Giver's answer.
The community's decision to eliminate choice entirely strips people of their individuality. If people had even small choices like shirt color, they would yearn for more and more freedoms and individuality. Jonas is beginning to disagree with the basic principles of the system he's been trained to think is perfect.
Themes
The Individual vs. Society Theme Icon
Freedom and Choice Theme Icon
Coming of Age Theme Icon
The next day Jonas tries to transmit color to Asher by touching his shoulder while Asher looks at some flowers. But Asher is suspicious and uncomfortable and asks Jonas what he's doing.
Human touch is made to seem shameful, even among friends, in order to prevent emotional intimacy and emotional bonds.
Themes
The Individual vs. Society Theme Icon
Feeling and Emotion Theme Icon
One day soon after, The Giver gives Jonas a memory of an elephant killed by poachers, with its tusks cut off and red blood flowing from its wounds. Later, Jonas tries to explain to Lily that her stuffed elephant resembles a real animal that once existed. She laughs at the idea.
The elephant's blood shows that color can also be associated with negative things. Jonas must learn that with every pleasure comes pain. Without memory, Fiona can't comprehend a world without Sameness.
Themes
The Individual vs. Society Theme Icon
Feeling and Emotion Theme Icon
Coming of Age Theme Icon
Memory Theme Icon
One day, Jonas asks whether The Giver has a wife. The Giver says that he did, once, but now his wife was sent to live with the Childless Adults, a group of parents who are no longer needed to create family units. The Giver warns Jonas that as a Receiver he won't be able to tell his spouse anything about his work, memories, or books.
Jonas realizes that he'll have to spend his whole life in utter loneliness. The privileges of being an individual come with many sacrifices.
Themes
The Individual vs. Society Theme Icon
Feeling and Emotion Theme Icon
Coming of Age Theme Icon
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The Giver tells Jonas that he wishes the Committee of Elders would ask for his wisdom more often. No one else in the community, not even teachers, knows anything compared to what he knows because of his memories. Jonas wonders why the people even need a Receiver, if not for advice. The Giver responds that he is primarily needed to contain all the pain that comes with memories. For instance, when the female Receiver trainee failed, all her memories were released to the community, and there was chaos until the memories could be contained.
Without the experience of memories, the Committee cannot know when there might be the need for advice. The Receiver is used as a kind of shield, so that people can hide in their comfortable stable lives and not have to face the pain of real human life. Of course, that means they are denied the pleasures of life as well.
Themes
Feeling and Emotion Theme Icon
Memory Theme Icon
Some afternoons, Jonas arrives for training and The Giver is hunched over in pain with a memory. On those days he sends Jonas away. Jonas usually spends those afternoons practicing seeing in color or standing on the bridge over the river that marks the border of the community.
Jonas may not have admitted it to himself yet, but by regularly going to stand on the bridge he shows at least a subconscious interest in leaving the community.
Themes
Freedom and Choice Theme Icon
Coming of Age Theme Icon
Memory Theme Icon
One day, Jonas asks The Giver to give him one of the painful memories. By taking a painful memory, Jonas realizes, he will be able to assume some of the The Giver's burden. The Giver decides to start with the memory of the sled.
Jonas decides to take on The Giver's pain because he cares about The Giver. The knowledge of pain has allowed Jonas and The Giver to form a bond of real friendship. Jonas's selfless choice shows his growing maturity.
Themes
Freedom and Choice Theme Icon
Feeling and Emotion Theme Icon
Coming of Age Theme Icon
Memory Theme Icon