Notes on Characters from The Giver

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The Giver Major Characters

Jonas: Jonas is the pale-eyed Eleven who is chosen to become the next Receiver of Memories in the community. His Assignment is the most honored and respected one, and Jonas has the intelligence, integrity, and courage needed to become a Receiver. As he begins his training with The Giver and slowly understands the truth about the community, however, Jonas feels that things must change. Planning together with The Giver, Jonas decides to flee the community forever in order to unleash all the memories that have been kept from the citizens for so long.

The Receiver/ The Giver : As the most venerated and regarded Elder in the community, The Receiver has the access to all the memories of the past. The Receiver, later called 'The Giver' by Jonas, has similarly pale eyes like those of Jonas and of Gabriel. He trains Jonas to succeed him as the next Receiver of Memories. He is an old, grave man who has been wearied by the burden of carrying alone the sorrow and the pain that memories bring. Jonas makes him realize that the community needs to change, and he agrees to a plan that will make everyone have access to the memories of the past. To Jonas who is often confused and frustrated as a result of his training, The Giver is a paternal figure who provides guidance as well as wisdom.

Mother: Jonas's mother is an eminent official at the Department of Justice before whom offenders of rules are brought to be judged. She is responsible for upholding rules in the community. She works many hours even at home. Jonas's parents are a perfect match for one another in terms of 'disposition, energy level, intelligence, and interests.' Mother is more intelligent than Father, but Father has a calmer disposition.

Father: Jonas's father is a Nurturer at the Nurturing Center who takes care of children who are newly born. Shy and quiet, he has 'a calmer disposition' than that of Jonas's mother, although less intelligence. He appropriately complements her as a spouse.

Lily: Lily is Jonas's talkative little sister who is a Seven. At the December Ceremony, she becomes an Eight who wears a jacket that newly identifies her as an Eight and starts her volunteer activities in the community. To Jonas, it seems that 'Lily's feelings [are] always straightforward, fairly simple, usually easy to resolve.'

Gabriel: Gabriel is a newchild who is one of the fifty being taken care of at the Nurturing Center. Gabriel is placed in the 'extra care section for supplementary nurturing' because he does not grow normally like other children and does not sleep well. Jonas's father brings Gabriel home at nights to spend time with the family. Like Jonas, Gabriel has pale eyes which are rare in the community where most of the citizens have dark eyes. Spending his nights at Jonas's family dwelling, Gabriel is able to sleep soundly by Jonas's bedside because Jonas gives him peaceful, serene memories to help him sleep. Later, however, Gabriel is chosen to be released from the community, and Jonas takes Gabriel to save him from being killed.

Asher: Asher is Jonas's best friend. He is clumsy, careless, and imprecise with words, but cheerful and good-humored. When he becomes a Twelve, Asher receives the Assignment of Assistant Director of Recreation. He and Jonas gradually grow distant as Jonas receives training and begins to understand the truth about the community.

Fiona: Fiona is Jonas's other friend. Her Assignment as a Twelve is that of a Caretaker of the Old at the House of the Old. Fiona is 'a sensitive, gentle girl' whom Jonas likes. At the end, however, Fiona also grows apart from Jonas because she cannot understand him and his Assignment as Receiver of Memories.

Rosemary: Rosemary was a girl Eleven who had been chosen to succeed The Giver as the next Receiver of Memories ten years ago. Although her training had begun well, it had eventually failed. She could not bear the pain and the sorrow of many of the memories that were being given to her. After training one day, she went to the Chief Elder to apply for a release from the community. When Rosemary was released, the memories she had been given came back to the community and to the people because memories are forever. The people of the community suffered as a result because they did not know how to cope with pain.

Minor Characters

Benjamin: Benjamin is the Eleven who has spent most of his volunteer hours at the Rehabilitation Center where injured people are treated. Because of his experience there, Benjamin is said to be as skilled as the Directors at the Center, and his Assignment will most likely be at the Rehabilitation Center.

Larissa: Larissa is the old woman at the House of the Old whom Jonas helps bathe during his last volunteer hours. During her bath, Larissa tells Jonas about a Ceremony of Release they had for a man named Roberto earlier that day and another recent release for a woman named Edna. After meeting her, Jonas remembers 'her sparkling eyes, her soft voice, her low chuckle.' Later, he learns from Fiona that she has also been released.

Roberto: Roberto is an elderly man at the House of the Old whom Jonas had once helped feed. When Jonas goes again to the House of the Old and meets Larissa, she tells him that Roberto had been released earlier that day. During his release, his life as an Instructor of Elevens, a member of the Planning Committee, and a father of two successful children had been celebrated.

Edna: Edna is another elderly woman whom Larissa talks about. She had also been released recently, but her life telling had not been very interesting like Roberto's had been during his release. She had been a Birthmother, then a Laborer in Food Production. She hadn't even had a family.

Caleb: Caleb had been a cheerful child-a Four who was lost in the river. During the December Ceremony, a newchild is named Caleb in order to replace the Caleb who had been lost earlier. The community performs a Murmur-of-Replacement Ceremony during which people in the audience repeats the name 'Caleb,' getting louder and faster as if they are bringing the lost Caleb back.

Fritz: Fritz is an awkward, clumsy boy in the community. When he receives his bicycle as a Nine, Fritz immediately bumps into the podium. He is known for his minor careless mistakes, 'but each such error [reflects] negatively on his parents' guidance and [infringes] on the community's sense of order and success.'

Chief Elder: The Chief Elder is the leader of the community who is newly elected every ten years. At the December Ceremony, the Chief Elder makes speeches and gives out Assignments to the Elevens.

Committee of Elders: The Committee of Elders is a group of Elders in the community whose long robes distinguish them from the rest of the citizens. The Elders make important decisions about matters concerning the community. They observe children during school hours as well as during recreation and volunteer hours in order to give them their appropriate Assignments. The Elders also observe citizens to match them with appropriate spouses and assign them to children. The Giver who is also a member of the Committee occasionally meets with the other Elders to give them advice when they need counsel on things that are new or unfamiliar to them.

Pierre: Pierre is a fellow Eleven whose number is Twenty. Jonas does not like Pierre very much because he is 'very serious, not much fun, and a worrier and tattletale.' He is always worried about abiding by the most trivial rules in the community. During the ceremony, the Chief Elder skips Jonas to give Pierre his Assignment.

Madeline: Madeline is a female Eleven who is Number One. As the first born newchild during her year, Madeline is given her Assignment first as a Fish Hatchery Attendant. Jonas thinks that he would not have liked Madeline's Assignment.

Inger : Inger is a female Eleven who is Number Two. She is assigned as a Birthmother. Jonas thinks that this is an appropriate Assignment for Inger who is 'nice,' but 'lazy'

Issac: Issac, Three, is given an Assignment as Instructor of Sixes.

Katherine : Katharine is a Six who has pale eyes like those of Jonas. Like The Giver and Jonas who both have pale eyes, it is expected that she will also be selected to become a Receiver in the future.

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