The Giver

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The Giver Chapter 16 Summary & Analysis

Summary
Analysis
The Giver is gentle with Jonas for days following the war memory. He gives Jonas wonderful memories of birthday parties, paintings in museums, horseback riding, and camping trips. None of these things exist in the community.
To relieve Jonas's trauma at being forced into maturity by becoming aware of pain, The Giver gives Jonas memories associated with childhood.
Themes
Feeling and Emotion Theme Icon
Memory Theme Icon
When Jonas asks The Giver to describe his favorite memory, The Giver tells Jonas he wants to give it to him, not just describe it to him. The Giver transmits the memory of a group of people, very young and very old, opening presents under a tree covered in lights. He tells Jonas the memory is of family and love. Jonas asks who the two old people were, and The Giver tells him they are called grandparents. Jonas has never heard of Grandparents. In the community, parents aren't a part of their children's lives once their children become full adults. They go to the House of Childless Adults, and then the House of the Old, and they are released without their children even knowing. Jonas wishes aloud that his own family could be more like the family in the memory and that The Giver was his grandfather.
Jonas realizes that maturity is not just an awareness of pain. It is also an awareness of love. He realizes that in his community family exists solely for practical purposes, without deeper emotions that truly make human, like love. His wish that the community could be more like this other world is another indication that his faith in the community is cracking. Also notice how the gift giving grandparents in the memory are in fact a lot like The Giver, who shows his love for Jonas by giving him the precious gift of his favorite memory.
Themes
The Individual vs. Society Theme Icon
Feeling and Emotion Theme Icon
Coming of Age Theme Icon
Memory Theme Icon
At home that evening, Jonas asks his parents if they love him. They laugh at the question and chide him for using such a vague term. They tell him that they take pride in his accomplishments and enjoy having him around, but they cannot say they love him.
Another stage of Jonas's development is his realization that those he loves cannot love him in return because, lost in Sameness, they don't know what love is.
Themes
The Individual vs. Society Theme Icon
Feeling and Emotion Theme Icon
That night, Jonas gives Gabriel another happy memory to help him sleep and tells the sleeping newchild that he wishes he could change the community to make it have colors, grandparents, and love. The next morning, Jonas decides to stop taking his pill for the Stirrings.
Jonas continues to make choices and break the community's rules in minor ways. But his wish indicates a desire to break rules and change things much more profoundly.
Themes
The Individual vs. Society Theme Icon
Freedom and Choice Theme Icon
Feeling and Emotion Theme Icon
Coming of Age Theme Icon
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