The Giver Chapter 20 Analysis Essay - Essay for you

Essay for you

The Giver Chapter 20 Analysis Essay

Rating: 4.9/5.0 (13 Votes)

Category: Essay


The Giver Chapters 18-20 Summary and Analysis

The Giver Summary and Analysis of Chapters 18-20

Jonas asks The Giver about release, who responds that he sometimes wishes he could request it, but he cannot do so until Jonas is trained. Jonas, feeling dejected because he does not look forward to life as the new Receiver, points out that he cannot ask for release either. The Giver traces the rule back to the failure ten years ago, and Jonas asks for the story. The previous Receiver-in-training was named Rosemary. although it clearly pains The Giver to say that name, and she came to him in much the same manner as Jonas. The Giver loved her, as he does Jonas, and it hurt him to transfer his pain to the enthusiastic and lively Rosemary, so at first he gave her only happy memories.

Rosemary asked for more difficult memories, so The Giver gave her the loneliness and loss of a child taken from its parents. He gave her more happy memories after that, but now that she knew pain, she asked him not to spare her. He did not wish to give her physical pain, so he gave her poverty and terror instead, and one afternoon, Rosemary came to a decision. After hugging him and leaving the Annex, she asked the Chief Elder for release, which at the time was not against the rules.

Jonas reflects that release is not so bad and suggests that Rosemary was not brave enough. He asks what would happen if an accident were to occur. The Giver tells him that with Rosemary, her five weeks of memories returned to the people, overwhelming everyone while the devastated and angry Giver did not aid them. After a moment, The Giver notes thoughtfully that with a year of memories, the loss of Jonas would only be worse for the community, and The Giver would have to help the community as he has helped Jonas.

Jonas mentions his father's release of the twin today. The Giver wishes they would not release twins, but Jonas points out the confusion possible from having two identical people. The Giver reminds him that he is allowed to ask anything and that everything is recorded for the Hall of Closed Records, and he tells Jonas to watch this morning's release. The Giver asks the speaker for the video, which appears on the screen above the speaker switches. It shows a small room, to Jonas's surprise, since Ceremonies of Release for the Old have many viewers. He watches his father weigh the two and send the larger one back to the Center. Jonas narrates what his father told him, but The Giver hushes him repeatedly.

Jonas watches as his father takes the smaller one and inserts a filled syringe into the newchild's forehead, injecting it while he apologizes to the newborn for having to use his forehead instead of a smaller vein. Jonas waits for his father to clean the child up but instead sees the baby die, and he realizes that his father has killed the twin. Stunned, he sees his father place the body in a carton and send it into a trash chute. The Giver says that he watched the tape of Rosemary's release and saw Rosemary telling them that she would rather inject herself, and he rejects Jonas's suggestion that Rosemary was not brave enough. He, however, could not bear to watch and looked away as she did it. He turns bitterly to Jonas, who feels a horrible sensation of pain.

Crying, Jonas refuses to go home, expressing a desire to which The Giver acquiesces so that no one will hear him cry. Jonas sarcastically mocks the obedience of people in his community. The Giver reminds him that they do as they have been taught and that they lie because they are instructed to do so, and he tells Jonas that he has never lied to Jonas. He confirms that even the Old are killed and that Fiona. who is already receiving training in release, will feel no remorse because she has not learned feelings in this life. The Giver tells Jonas that he wants to make a plan, although Jonas responds that nothing has changed or will change. The Giver says that the worst part of the memories is the loneliness rather than the pain, and he has realized that sharing memories is a necessity. Furthermore, Jonas has given him an idea.

The plan they conceive is dangerous, but Jonas feels that staying would make life worthless to him. If he leaves, The Giver cannot regain Jonas's memories, and the community will have to bear their own burden and acquire some wisdom. Despite Jonas's protests, The Giver will not leave because he cares about them and has to help them avoid chaos, and the Six named Katharine with the pale eyes is too young to take up the mission. In addition, The Giver does not have the strength to join Jonas and can no longer see colors. However, hearing-beyond was his first experience rather than seeing-beyond, and he has not yet shared music with Jonas. Jonas, however, refuses it, wanting The Giver to keep it after he leaves.

The next day, Jonas and his father lie to each other about how pleasant yesterday was. He goes over his plan to take The Giver's memories of courage and strength in order to survive until he finds Elsewhere. He will leave secretly in two weeks at midnight and head for the Annex while leaving a note for his parents that he will return in time for the Ceremony, while the Ceremony distracts everyone from his absence. The Giver will call for a vehicle and driver, and The Giver will leave in the vehicle with some food and Jonas inside while the driver is distracted. By the time he returns without Jonas, he will go to the Auditorium and announce to the panicked population that Jonas was lost in the river while performing a Ceremony of Loss. He will then help them bear their memories. Jonas wants The Giver to come with him, but he refuses, saying that he wants to be with his daughter Rosemary when his work is finished.

In this section of the novel, Jonas finally discovers the true nature of release, which is shown on video to be euthanasia by lethal injection. The discovery forms a crucial turning point in the novel, as its revelation permanently alienates Jonas from his society in a way that Jonas's previous doubts about the absence of true families and love could not. Furthermore, Jonas's revulsion at the infant's death is conditioned in part by his new memories of death such as in war, which shows the seeming needlessness and horror of some deaths. Not having knowledge of the same experiences, people like Jonas's father and Fiona do not feel the same inner revulsion against euthanasia.

The discovery that Jonas's father has purposely misled Jonas and his sister Lily about release is nearly as difficult for Jonas to comprehend as the mere fact of release being death. When Jonas received the information packet containing rules for his position as The Receiver, the most significant rule for Jonas was that he as The Receiver was allowed to lie. Chapter 19 confirms that the permission to mislead in certain areas like release may be among the secret rules for other positions, such as that of Nurturer or Caretaker of the Old. Jonas did not truly believe that his father would lie to him, but he learns here that his trust of his father may have been misplaced.

Three types of release are referenced within Chapters 18 through 20: assisted suicide, infanticide, and euthanasia of the old. Each reason for release takes place in a different period of life and consequently holds different implications for the individual being released. In the case of Rosemary, to die by lethal injection was a mature choice and a silent protest not only against the evils and pains that beset the human race, but also against the societal system that would place this burden on one individual. The release of the Old is more likely to seem objectionable, but it is far less so than the killing of the twin, who dies before he has the opportunity to life a full life for the sole reason of being the unluckier, slightly lighter twin. Significantly, to release the infant is to choose society’s rules of simplicity and regularity over human life itself, which to Jonas is unconscionable.

The Giver's description of Rosemary's release raises the question of what is bravery, a quality that Jonas and all other Receivers are said to require. Although Jonas's suggestion that Rosemary was not brave enough to handle the memories was made before he realized that her release was equivalent to suicide, Jonas nevertheless represents a point of view that sees choosing to live and bear the burdens of life as the braver path. Rosemary, by contrast, decided that release was the best option and calmly chose to inject herself, suggesting that deciding to die is the ultimate expression both of inner strength and of individual choice.

The release forms the catalyst for a plan to return memory and life to the community, through twin paths that will respectively be taken by Jonas and The Giver. In order to release memories into the community and give the citizens a chance to mature in the same way that Jonas has matured over the past year, Jonas will leave the community forever. This is the move toward Elsewhere that he had thought release involved in the first place. The Giver, for his part, plays a pivotal role in this plan by choosing to stay and act as The Giver for the whole community rather than only for Jonas. In this way, The Giver will atone for his past mistakes and help the community learn rather than allowing it to return to the old ways. Thus far, everyone has referred to Rosemary as the failure of ten years ago, but in one sense, The Giver is the own who failed, missing his chance to help the community learn from the experience because The Giver at the time was lost in his own grief.

Next Section Chapters 21-23 Summary and Analysis Previous Section Chapters 16-17 Summary and Analysis Buy Study Guide

How To Cite in MLA Format

Wang, Bella. Kissel, Adam ed. "The Giver Chapters 18-20 Summary and Analysis". GradeSaver, 21 February 2010 Web. Cite this page

Other articles

The Giver Chapter 20 Summary

The Giver Chapter 20 Summary
  • Jonas, still raging, refuses to go home and see his father. He's crying, and The Giver, once again, says, "Be quiet," but this time in a comforting voice. He tells Jonas that no one can see or hear him sobbing. He also says Jonas can stay there for the night if he wants.
  • Once the moral outrage at killing babies dies down a bit, Jonas is consumed with outrage that his Father has been lying to him.
  • The Giver tries to explain that his Father was just following the rules, that he doesn't know how to act any differently.
  • Jonas wants to know if The Giver has ever lied to him; the old man answers no, he never has.
  • Then Jonas asks if Release is death for everyone, even the elderly. The Giver confirms that yes, it is. Even Fiona, who works with the Elderly, is being trained to do lethal injections. Because those people don't know how to have emotions, it doesn't mean anything to them.
  • Once he calms the boy down a bit, The Giver explains that the two of them are the only ones with real feelings in the entire community. The problem with holding the memories, he says, is that it's lonely—memories are meant to be shared.
  • The Giver says the two of them need to make a plan. They know that things can be different than they are now, because they've seen the past through the memories they share. Spending time with Jonas has made The Giver realize that things have to change. And he thinks there might be a way…
  • In a brilliant, suspense-building shift, we don't get to hear their plan. We cut to the post-planning, where the two have come up with an idea.
  • Jonas is sitting wrapped up in The Giver's robe, the kind the Elders wear. He knows that if their plan doesn't work, he will very likely be killed.
  • Jonas asks The Giver to come with him, but the old man refuses. Jonas needs to escape to Elsewhere—knowing that he can never come back—and then the memories he's taken will be released to the community. The Giver hopes that, through these memories, the citizens will acquire some wisdom. He has to stick around to help them.
  • Both Jonas and The Giver know that the Elders will try to pick a new Receiver, and quickly too, to take the memories and ease the burden. But The Giver knows that there isn't another one ready.
  • Jonas reminds him that there's a young girl with light eyes, except she's only a Six. The fact is, the community will have to deal with the memories themselves.
  • Besides, says The Giver, he's too old and weak to make the journey. He doesn't even see colors anymore, he admits, which really hits home for Jonas.
  • Speaking of colors, Jonas would like to know more about what The Giver meant so long ago. He said that he "perceived beyond" when he was young, too, except it wasn't colors that he perceived.
  • The Giver says that the only way Jonas will understand is if he transmits to Jonas the memory in question. He's been holding on to it, he says, a bit selfishly. It's music, he says. He used to hear music.
  • Of course, Jonas doesn't know what this is. But he refuses to take the memory from The Giver, insisting that the old man should keep it for himself.
  • When Jonas finally goes home, he pretends everything is hunky-dory with his Father.
  • Jonas spends the next day at school going over the plan in his head, which at last we get to hear about: for the next two weeks, as the December Ceremony approaches, Jonas will get ready to escape to Elsewhere. The Giver will transmit memories of courage to help him.
  • Then, the night before the big Ceremony, Jonas will sneak out of his house and hide his bicycle and clothes by the river. Then he'll come to the Annex, where The Giver will be waiting for him.
  • As the plan goes, his parents will wake up and find a cheery note about Jonas having gone for an early bike ride. They'll wait and wait, and, finally, they'll just leave for the Ceremony without him. No one will notice his absence all day because they'll be so wrapped up in the festivities.
  • Meanwhile, The Giver, who typically does not attend the December Ceremony, would order a vehicle, send the driver away under some pretense, and hide Jonas inside the truck.
  • By the time everyone has found Jonas's bicycle and clothes by the river, the boy will be long gone, and the community will turn to The Giver to help them through the crisis.
  • The Giver will explain that Jonas accidentally drowned in the river, and then he will help them cope with the new memories.
  • That's the plan. While he knows that The Giver needs to stay, Jonas still wants him to come along on the escape.
  • The Giver explains that he will stay to help the citizens. After that, he says, he wants to be with his daughter—Rosemary.
People who Shmooped this also Shmooped.

Story of a Girl - Learning Guide

The Picture of Dorian Gray - Learning Guide

White Noise - Learning Guide


Find out what that little icon means. and why we're funny.

Career Test and Advice Center

Plan your future. or at least your next step.

Famous Quotes

The who, what, where, when, and why of all your favorite quotes.

Go behind the scenes on all your favorite films.

© 2017 Shmoop University. All rights reserved. We speak tech

© 2017 Shmoop University. All rights reserved.

Logging out… Logging out.

You've been inactive for a while, logging you out in a few seconds.

The Giver Chapter 20 Summary - Analysis from LitCharts

The Giver Chapter 20 Summary & Analysis

Crying because of what he just saw, and because he now realizes that his father lied to him about what would happen to the newchild, Jonas refuses to go home. He spends the night in The Giver's room. Jonas asks The Giver if he too has lied to him, and The Giver tells Jonas he has not. He tells Jonas that release is the same procedure for babies as it is for the Old and for criminals. Jonas wonders what Fiona will say when she finds out that her job involves killing people. The Giver says Fiona already knows.

Fiona, although patient and kind, can't understand death any more than Jonas's father can. Jonas has now been betrayed by the two people he loves most, other than The Giver. His refusal to go home for the night symbolizes his inability to go back to his own life, burdened with terrible knowledge no one can understand.

The Individual vs. Society

' data-html='true' data-placement='auto bottom' data-toggle='popover' data-trigger='hover'>

Feeling and Emotion

' data-html='true' data-placement='auto bottom' data-toggle='popover' data-trigger='hover'>

' data-html='true' data-placement='auto bottom' data-toggle='popover' data-trigger='hover'>

Jonas demands that they do something to stop the community from living in ignorance. The Giver argues that change is hopeless, and that the other people of the community don't feel what he and Jonas do. Finally, though, he admits that Jonas's presence over the past year has convinced him that maybe they can do something together.

Jonas is finally giving something back to The Giver—the courage to act.

The Individual vs. Society

' data-html='true' data-placement='auto bottom' data-toggle='popover' data-trigger='hover'>

Freedom and Choice

' data-html='true' data-placement='auto bottom' data-toggle='popover' data-trigger='hover'>

' data-html='true' data-placement='auto bottom' data-toggle='popover' data-trigger='hover'>

Jonas and The Giver hatch a plan: Jonas will escape from the community, so that all of his memories will return to the people of the community. Jonas begs The Giver to escape with him, but The Giver refuses, saying he is too old and weak, and that he will be needed to help the people cope with the painful memories left behind. Jonas realizes that The Giver is right to care about the people of the community even if they aren't capable of caring about him. He further realizes that the reason he and The Giver have made this plan is because they both care about the people of the community.

The Giver commits his final act of selflessness—giving up his own future for the good of the community. Jonas now takes the next step on his journey toward maturity, gaining the capacity to love others even without being loved in return. He is leaving the community not to save himself, but instead to save the community from itself, to free the people of the community from their numb robotic lives.

The Individual vs. Society

' data-html='true' data-placement='auto bottom' data-toggle='popover' data-trigger='hover'>

Freedom and Choice

' data-html='true' data-placement='auto bottom' data-toggle='popover' data-trigger='hover'>

Feeling and Emotion

' data-html='true' data-placement='auto bottom' data-toggle='popover' data-trigger='hover'>

' data-html='true' data-placement='auto bottom' data-toggle='popover' data-trigger='hover'>

The Giver tells Jonas he is not able to see colors anymore because he has given them all to Jonas. But he has one more skill he has been keeping to himself, called hearing-beyond. He calls it music and offers to give the memory to Jonas. Jonas refuses. He prefers that the The Giver keep his memories, because they are so precious to him.

The Giver has sacrificed his most precious memories for Jonas and is still willing to give more. But Jonas responds with his own selfless act. In this way, Jonas and The Giver show their love for each other.

Feeling and Emotion

' data-html='true' data-placement='auto bottom' data-toggle='popover' data-trigger='hover'>

' data-html='true' data-placement='auto bottom' data-toggle='popover' data-trigger='hover'>

The Giver and Jonas decide that over the next two weeks, The Giver will transmit as many memories as he can to Jonas, while also storing food and supplies. On the morning of the annual Ceremony, Jonas will leave his bicycle by the river. Meanwhile, The Giver hides Jonas in the trunk of a vehicle and drives Jonas a ways to give him a good start on his escape. When people discover Jonas is missing, and then find his bicycle by the river, they'll think that he's drowned.

So far, Jonas has made choices to break rules of the community that affect only himself. Now he is making a larger choice from which he will be unable to hide: he is going to try to change the community. This is a courageous choice with consequences that will cut him off from the community.

The Individual vs. Society

' data-html='true' data-placement='auto bottom' data-toggle='popover' data-trigger='hover'>

Freedom and Choice

' data-html='true' data-placement='auto bottom' data-toggle='popover' data-trigger='hover'>

' data-html='true' data-placement='auto bottom' data-toggle='popover' data-trigger='hover'>

' data-html='true' data-placement='auto bottom' data-toggle='popover' data-trigger='hover'>

The Giver will stay behind and help people cope with their new memories. He tells Jonas that after this work is finished, what he wants most is to be with his daughter, Rosemary.

The Giver yearns for the release of death and the peace it brings, suggesting that he believes in a kind of Elsewhere in death.

Feeling and Emotion

' data-html='true' data-placement='auto bottom' data-toggle='popover' data-trigger='hover'>

Cite This Page

Choose citation style:

Sprow, Victoria. "The Giver Chapter 20." LitCharts. LitCharts LLC, 22 Jul 2013. Web. 25 Feb 2017.

Sprow, Victoria. "The Giver Chapter 20." LitCharts LLC, July 22, 2013. Retrieved February 25, 2017.

Copy to Clipboard

Download this Chart (PDF)

“Would not have made it through AP Literature without the printable PDFs. They're like having in-class notes for every discussion!”

Get the Teacher Edition

“This is absolutely THE best teacher resource I have ever purchased. My students love how organized the handouts are and enjoy tracking the themes as a class.”

Which books should we add? Request one!

How can we improve? Tell us!