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The Giver

The Giver

by Lois Lowry

The Giver Chapter 14 Summary

  • For this memory, The Giver sends Jonas back to his spot on the hill with the sled.
  • To make a long story short…the sled tips over and Jonas breaks his leg. Many feelings of "Ow!" follow, along with some vomit and blood.
  • When he gets back to the room with The Giver, Jonas asks for relief-of-pain, which we understand to be medication.
  • The Giver refuses, and Jonas limps home, still feeling the physical pain of the memory.
  • That night, Jonas doesn't tell his parents anything about his training, as the rules specify. He refuses medication when they offer it to him, and goes to bed feeling lonely. "They have never known pain," he thinks of his family.
  • The Giver starts transmitting more and more painful memories to Jonas, though he always ends the day with a pleasant memory, like sailing on a blue lake during sunset.
  • After he receives the memory of starvation, Jonas asks The Giver why it is they need to preserve this sort of horror.
  • The Giver explains that the memories provide the wisdom he needs to advise the Elders. Years ago, he says, they wanted every Birthmother to have four children instead of three, so there would be more laborers. He had to remind them that a large population might lead to starvation – even warfare.
  • Jonas doesn't know what "warfare" is.
  • The Giver continues. He couldn't explain to the committee what hunger was, so they just had to take his word for it that four births per mother was a bad idea.
  • Same deal, he says, with the plane that flew overhead years ago. He advised them not to shoot it down – as they wanted to – because he knew the horror that such hasty violence can cause.
  • Jonas asks why everyone doesn't have the memories, and The Giver explains that they don't want everyone to have to be burdened with the suffering like the two of them are.
  • Jonas wants to apply for a change of rules, but they both know it just ain't gonna happen.
  • Meanwhile, little Gabriel is doing well. He's growing and eating and healthy, although he still needs extra attention at night. Jonas's father hopes that they won't release him, given that he's put so much time into caring for the infant.
  • He reports that twin males are going to be born next month, which means one of them will have to be released (whichever one weighs less is the general rule).
  • Jonas, who is listening to all this, thinks about the bridge that leads out of the community and wonders again about Elsewhere. What would happen to the twin who was released?
  • He thinks a moment about Larissa, the old woman he bathed that day before the Ceremony of Twelve. Fiona told him she had been released recently, and he hopes that she will be waiting to welcome the twin.
  • But Jonas knows this is foolish; wherever Larissa is now, she wouldn't be given a child to raise. (He seems to have no concept of "death" at all; it sounds like Jonas thinks all the elderly that have ever been released are just hanging out somewhere across the bridge.)
  • Jonas suddenly asks his father if they can put Gabriel's crib in his room tonight; his parents agree.
  • In the middle of the night, Gabriel's fussing wakes Jonas. He pats the baby and, while doing so, starts thinking about the pleasant memory – the one of the sailboat.
  • Accidentally, he begins transmitting the memory to Gabe, who is comforted and stops fussing. Jones can feel the memory disappearing from his mind, so he pulls it back.
  • The next time Gabriel wakes, he gives the baby more of the memory, knowing he can take another one from The Giver.
  • Then he wonders if he's just broken some unknown rule; it's not like he had permission, after all, to start transmitting his memory…

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