'The Giver' Quotes

The Giver
Bantam Doubleday Dell Books

"The Giver" is a middle-grade dystopian novel by Lois Lowry. It's about Jonas, who becomes the Receiver of Memories and then begins to understand the deepest secrets of his society. The book teaches a valuable lesson on the importance of individuality, emotions, and having a connection with others and is often part of a middle school curriculum.

On Aging

“After Twelve, age isn't important. Most of us even lose track of how old we are as time passes, though information is in the Hall of Open Records." —Chapter 1

"What's important is the preparation for adult life, and the training you'll receive in your Assignment." —Chapter 2

On Memories

"It was not a grasping of thin and burdensome recollection; this was different. This was something that he could keep. It was a memory of his own." —Chapter 23

"Memories are forever." —Chapter 18

"Simply stated, although it's not really simple at all, my job is to transmit to you all the memories I have within me. Memories of the past." —Chapter 10

"With his new, heightened feelings, he was overwhelmed by sadness at the way the others had laughed and shouted, playing at war. But he knew that they could not understand why, without the memories. He felt such love for Asher and for Fiona. But they could not feel it back, without the memories. And he could not give them those." —Chapter 17

On Courage

"You will be faced, now, with pain of a magnitude that none of us here can comprehend because it is beyond our experience.

The Receiver himself was not able to describe it, only to remind us that you would be faced with it, that you would need immense courage." —Chapter 8

"But when he looked out across the crowd, the sea of faces, the thing happened again. The thing that had happened with the apple. They changed. He blinked, and it was gone.

His shoulder straightened slightly. Briefly he felt a tiny sliver of sureness for the first time." —Chapter 8

On Fitting In

"For a contributing citizen to be released from the community was a final decision, a terrible punishment, an overwhelming statement of failure." —Chapter 1

"No one mentioned such things; it was not a rule, but was considered rude to call attention to things that were unsettling or different about individuals." —Chapter 3

"How could someone not fit in? The community was so meticulously ordered, the choices so carefully made." —Chapter 6

"He was so completely, so thoroughly accustomed to courtesy within the community that the thought of asking another citizen an intimate question, of calling someone's attention to an area of awkwardness, was unnerving." —Chapter 9

On Happiness and Satisfaction

"Now he became aware of an entirely new sensation: pinpricks? No, because they were soft and without pain. Tiny, cold, feather-like feelings peppered his body and face. He put out his tongue again and caught one of the dots of cold upon it. It disappeared from his awareness instantly, but he caught another, and another. The sensation made him smile." —Chapter 11

"He was free to enjoy the breathless glee that overwhelmed him: the speed, the clear cold air, the total silence, the feeling of balance and excitement and peace." —Chapter 11

"He liked the feeling of safety here in this warm and quiet room; he liked the expression of trust on the woman's face as she lay in the water unprotected, exposed, and free." —Chapter 4

"They were satisfied with their lives which had none of the vibrance his own was taking on. And he was angry at himself, that he could not change that for them." —Chapter 13

"Our people made that choice, the choice to go to Sameness. Before my time, before the previous time, back and back and back. We relinquished color when we relinquished sunshine and did away with difference. We gained control of many things. But we had to let go of others." —Chapter 12

"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." —Chapter 13

On Grief and Pain

"Now he saw another elephant emerge from the place where it had stood hidden in the trees. Very slowly it walked to the mutilated body and looked down. With its sinuous trunk it struck the huge corpse; then it reached up, broke some leafy branches with a snap, and draped them over the mass of torn thick flesh. Finally, it tilted its massive head, raised its trunk, and roared into the empty landscape. It was a sound of rage and grief and it seemed never to end." —Chapter 13

"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....Then, the first wave of pain. He gasped. It was as if a hatchet lay lodged in his leg, slicing through each nerve with a hot blade. In his agony, he perceived the word 'fire' and felt flames licking at the torn bone and flesh." —Chapter 14

"Dirt streaked the boy's face and his matted blond hair. He lay sprawled, his gray uniform glistening with wet, fresh blood. The colors of the carnage were grotesquely bright: the crimson wetness on the rough and dusty fabric, the ripped shred of grass, startlingly green, in the boy's yellow hair." —Chapter 15

"Jonas felt a ripping sensation inside himself, the feeling of terrible pain clawing its way forward to emerge in a cry." —Chapter 19

On Wonder

"What if others—adults—had, upon becoming Twelves, received in their instructions the same terrifying sentence?

What if they had all been instructed: You may lie?" —Chapter 9

"Always in the dream, it seemed as if there were a destination: a something—he could not grasp what—that lay beyond the place where the thickness of snow brought the sled to a stop. He was left, upon awakening, with the feeling that he wanted, even somehow needed, to reach the something that waited in the distance. The feeling that it was good. That it was welcoming. That it was significant. But he did not know how to get there." —Chapter 12

"He wondered what lay in the far distance where he had never gone. The land didn't end beyond those nearby communities. Were there hills Elsewhere? Were there vast wind-torn areas like the place he had seen in memory, the place where the elephants died?" —Chapter 13

"Was there someone there, waiting, who would receive the tiny released twin? Would it grow up Elsewhere, not knowing, ever, that in this community lived a being who looked exactly the same? For a moment, he felt a tiny, fluttering hope that he knew was quite foolish. He hoped that it would be Larissa, waiting. Larissa, the old woman he had bathed." —Chapter 14

"Jonas began to remember the wonderful sail that The Giver had given him not long before: a bright, breezy day on a clear turquoise lake, and above him the white sail of the boat billowing as he moved along in the brisk wind." —Chapter 14

"For the first time, he heard something that he knew to be music. He heard people singing. Behind him, across vast distances of space and time, from the place he had left, he thought he heard music too.

But perhaps, it was only an echo." —Chapter 23

On Choice, Change, and Consequences

"It's the way they live. It's the life that was created for them. It's the same life that you would have, if you had not been chosen as my successor." —Chapter 20

"He hunched his shoulders and tried to make himself smaller in the seat. He wanted to disappear, to fade away, not to exist. He didn't dare to turn and find his parents in the crowd. He couldn't bear to see their faces darkened with shame. Jonas bowed his head and searched through his mind. What had he done wrong?" —Chapter 7

"There was just a moment when things weren't quite the same, weren't quite as they had always been through the long friendship." —Chapter 9

"Things could change, Gabe. Things could be different. I don't know how, but there must be some way for things to be different. There could be colors. And grandparents. And everybody would have memories. You know about memories." —Chapter 16

"If he had stayed in the community, he would not be. It was as simple as that. Once he had yearned for choice. Then, when he has had a choice, he had made the wrong one: the choice to leave. And now he was starving." —Chapter 22