The Giver


Lois Lowry

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Themes and Colors
The Individual vs. Society Theme Icon
Freedom and Choice Theme Icon
Feeling and Emotion Theme Icon
Coming of Age Theme Icon
Memory Theme Icon
LitCharts assigns a color and icon to each theme in The Giver, which you can use to track the themes throughout the work.
Memory Theme Icon

Sometime in the past, Jonas's community decided to give up their memories in order to eliminate the pain and regret that came with them. They were trying to create a totally peaceful and harmonious society without conflict, war, or hate by eliminating emotion entirely. They succeeded: the community is almost perfectly stable and totally safe. Yet Jonas realizes that without memories, a person can't learn from mistakes, celebrate accomplishments, know love or happiness or any other deep emotion, or grow as an individual.

In The Giver, memory doesn't function as it does in the real world. Certain people have the power to transmit memories to others, and this ability is connected to the trait of blue eyes, which Jonas, The Giver, and Gabriel all share. Memory is also not just a mental exercise. Instead, it's an actual experience: Jonas literally feels the cold when he remembers snow. Finally, when a keeper of memories, called a Receiver, dies or leaves the community, all of his or her memories are released to the community. By bestowing upon memory these magical properties, Lowry emphasizes memory's preciousness and its power to influence, guide, and enrich life.

Related Themes from Other Texts
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Memory ThemeTracker

The ThemeTracker below shows where, and to what degree, the theme of Memory appears in each chapter of The Giver. Click or tap on any chapter to read its Summary & Analysis.
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Memory Quotes in The Giver

Below you will find the important quotes in The Giver related to the theme of Memory.
Chapter 13 Quotes
[Jonas] watched them hack the tusks from a motionless elephant on the ground and then haul them away, spattered with blood. He felt himself overwhelmed with a new perception of the color he knew as red.
Related Characters: Jonas
Page Number: 126
Explanation and Analysis:
Sometimes I wish they'd ask for my wisdom more often-there are so many things I could tell them; things I wish they would change. But they don't want change. Life here is so orderly, so predictable-so painless. It's what they've chosen.
Related Characters: The Giver (speaker)
Page Number: 130
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 14 Quotes
The sled hit a bump in the hill and Jonas was jarred loose and thrown violently into the air. He fell with his leg twisted under him, and could hear the crack of bone. His face scraped along jagged edges of ice… In his agony he perceived the world "fire" and felt flames licking at the torn bone and flesh.
Related Characters: Jonas
Related Symbols: The Snow-covered Hill
Page Number: 137
Explanation and Analysis:
He was not aware of giving the memory; but suddenly he realized that it was becoming dimmer, that it was sliding through his hand into the being of the newchild.
Related Characters: Jonas
Page Number: 147
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 17 Quotes
He felt such love for Asher and for Fiona. But they could not feel it back, without the memories.
Related Characters: Jonas, Asher, Fiona
Page Number: 170
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 18 Quotes
Memories are forever.
Related Characters: The Giver (speaker)
Page Number: 180
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 21 Quotes
Though he had never seen one before, he identified it from his fading memories, for The Giver had given them to him often. It was a bird.
Related Characters: Jonas, The Giver
Page Number: 215
Explanation and Analysis: