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The Giver

The Giver


by Lois Lowry

Analysis: Booker's Seven Basic Plots Analysis

Christopher Booker is a scholar who wrote that every story falls into one of seven basic plot structures: Overcoming the Monster, Rags to Riches, the Quest, Voyage and Return, Comedy, Tragedy, and Rebirth. Shmoop explores which of these structures fits this story like Cinderella’s slipper.

Plot Type : The Quest

The Call

Jonas is named "The Receiver."

Our hero doesn't exactly start his ordeal voluntarily. He's "selected," as they say, to bear the burden that the rest of the community would rather not deal with. But we have to remember that Jonas has some innate qualities which, along with a pair of baby blue eyes, convinced the Elders he was the right man for the job.

In a way, it's almost as if he was fated.

The Journey

Warfare, pain, suffering, emotional despair, and a broken leg or two.

This part of the Booker plot is made up of difficult ordeals faced by the hero. Every tough memory which Jonas encounters is another ordeal. He has to suffer through it physically, sure, but also emotionally. As he grows farther away from his friends and family, Jonas has to deal with isolation as well, and a (justified) sense of mistrust.

Arrival and Frustration

Planning, plotting, and everything going to hell.

Jonas arrives "in sight of his goal," as Booker says, when he and The Giver think it may be possible to change the way things work in the community. When Jonas finds out that Gabriel is to be killed, this is the last obstacle in sight.

The Final Ordeals

Barefoot in the snow and uphill both ways (for the most part).

Jonas struggles to keep Gabriel and himself alive even while in sight (or so he thinks) of his end goal: Elsewhere. The "final battle" is of course that last uphill climb, though no one can tell you for sure whether Jonas makes it alive to his goal. Call it an ambiguous "Quest," but that's the way it goes.

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