Study Guide

The Giver Tradition and Customs

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Tradition and Customs

Much like rules and laws, traditions and customs are used to control in The Giver. They often disguise the reality of a situation; ritual chanting hides the pain of death. Ritual tellings give meaning to lives that have been lived without individuality or choice. Perhaps more dangerous to freedom than strict laws, traditions control people emotionally, not just behaviorally, in this novel.

Questions About Tradition and Customs


  1. How does the community use laws, and how does it use tradition, to control its citizens?
  2. Is tradition established by the Elders, or does it grow organically from the citizens?
  3. How do the ceremonies in December and the rituals surrounding death affect the citizens? What purpose do the Elders have in mind for these traditions?

Chew on This

Traditions threaten the freedom to choose more than rules do in The Giver.

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