The Giver

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The River Symbol Icon
The river forms a border of the community before continuing on to Elsewhere. As a border, the river comes to symbolize escape—crossing the river means leaving the community. Because it takes the life of the four-year-old Caleb, the river also symbolizes the danger inherent in that escape.
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The River Symbol Timeline in The Giver

The timeline below shows where the symbol The River appears in The Giver. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 6
The Individual vs. Society Theme Icon
Feeling and Emotion Theme Icon
...a replacement child to a family whose Four, also named Caleb, had fallen into the river and drowned. Jonas remembers the Ceremony of Mourning for the drowned boy, in which everyone... (full context)
The Individual vs. Society Theme Icon
Freedom and Choice Theme Icon
...get Sanitation, and tells Jonas that he once heard that someone in Sanitation swam the river and left to join another community. Jonas has never heard of someone joining another community,... (full context)
Chapter 17
The Individual vs. Society Theme Icon
Freedom and Choice Theme Icon
Coming of Age Theme Icon
Jonas rides his bike along the river. He knows the river must lead to Elsewhere and wonders what Elsewhere must be like. (full context)
Chapter 18
The Individual vs. Society Theme Icon
Freedom and Choice Theme Icon
Feeling and Emotion Theme Icon
Coming of Age Theme Icon
Memory Theme Icon
Jonas wonders what would happen if he fell in the river and died accidentally. The Giver tells him that memories are forever, and that all of... (full context)
Chapter 20
The Individual vs. Society Theme Icon
Freedom and Choice Theme Icon
Coming of Age Theme Icon
Memory Theme Icon
...supplies. On the morning of the annual Ceremony, Jonas will leave his bicycle by the river. Meanwhile, The Giver hides Jonas in the trunk of a vehicle and drives Jonas a... (full context)
Chapter 21
The Individual vs. Society Theme Icon
Freedom and Choice Theme Icon
Feeling and Emotion Theme Icon
Coming of Age Theme Icon
Memory Theme Icon
...memories of courage he had expected to have from The Giver, he rides across the river and out of the community. (full context)