From plot debriefs to key motifs, Thug Notes’ The Giver Summary & Analysis has you covered with themes, symbols, important quotes, and more.
The Giver (1993) | Written by: Lois Lowry | Published by: HMH Books for Young Readers
The Giver – Thug Notes Summary & Analysis
Sup playa? This week we in living color with The Giver by Lois Lowry.
11-year old thug Jonas comin’ up in a trap dat at first seem pretty legit. Unlike the crooked outside world, or “elsewhere,” this hood ain’t got no war, disease, hunger, or poverty.
Truth is, though, the only reason peeps keepin’ it so chill is cuz errybody sippin on the philosophy of “sameness,” which basically mean two things: errybody livin like a bunch of lame-ass drones to keep sh** peaceful, and a crew of old geezers callin all the shots: who hooks up with who, how many babies a biddy can pop out. sh** they even makin you pop pillz dat kill a brutha’s mojo. Ugh. And when you too old to hack it anymo, you get “released.” We’ll get to dat later.
Now dat Jonas’s finally old enough to count the hairs on his nuts, dem old folk give him the special job of “Reciever of Memories,” cuz unlike errybody else in the streets, Jonas got “The Capacity to See Beyond.” See back when the hood decided to start preachin dat “sameness” jive, dem old timers took all the world’s memories and dumped em in the mind of just one G: the “Reciever.”
And now the old reciever gonna get up on his givin grind and pour da memories outta his dome in to Jonas’s.
As da Giver packin dem memories in to Jonas’s backside, Jonas be learnin about all sorts of crazy sh** he ain’t never known about- the sun, snow, love, and even war. By the time that Jonas gets a little taste of what the Giver dealin, J-Dog realize that the memories of the world filled with too much pain, and not even the hardest hustla can handle em solo without ODing. Jonas asks The Giver “why cant we all share this pain, yo? Lighten the load, naw mean?” If we cut it up and share it with all the hood, we can get this sh** on lock. But the Giver like ain’t happenin yo. Regular homies don’t want pain. They just wanna keep things as chill as possible. But Jonas ain’t buyin dat mess. Then one day Jonas learn that
gettin “released” is really just gettin wasted by the man, and his little baby-buddy Gabriel is next on the hit list. So he say “Man fu** this. I’m out.”
Since memories last foreveer, Jonas gonna get what he really wants: Cuz
once he peaces outta town, erryone’s gonna have to take a hit of dem painful memories. Even though he want The Giver to come, the G-man like “Nah burh. I gotta hold it down and make sure nobody loses their sh** when they experience pain and loneliness for the first time.” So Jonas grabs baby Gabe and rolls
out to the outside world where things be all sorts of nasty! But he gotta nut up and beast through it all to keep him and Gabe alive.
When the book ends, Jonas and Gabe cruisin on a sled towards some bright lights in a window. And that’s it. Da hell?
First thing you gotz to know is that when the author was a lil’
thug-ette she was kickin it w peeps crazy bout keepin errybody in line. A lotta scholars think it made old Lo-Lo wanna spit some raw truth bout what it’s like livin in a spot where somebody ridin yo nuts 24/7.
Having somebody bust yo ass til its raw is gonna do you just like Jonas’s boy Asher got did when he wasn’t talkin right-
“the next morning he had done it again. And again the following week. He couldn’t seem to stop, though for each lapse the discipline wand came again, escalating to a series of painful lashes taht left marks on Asher’s legs. Eventually, for a period of time, Asher stopped talking altogether” (55)
In a world where the law gets all up in your sh** erry time you bone- up, it’s sometimes better to just throw up the deuce to all dem haters. But at the beginning of the book Lowry makin it seem like Jonas’s
hood is the place to be. Fo example, it seem like Jonas’s
daddy is a super righteous dude since he got an ideal family and all he do is take care babies all day. Fool’s job title is even NURTERER.
But on the real, there be some shady sh** goin down under the surface. When the Giver show Jonas a video of his daddy on the grind, he realize that pops ain’t just about nursin’ babies, he also kill the ones that ain’t up to snuff. Uh- uhh!
When Jonas realize how backwards things in his hood be, he try to
use dem memories to open up erryone else’s eyes, but ain’t none of his homies can feel him on dat. Like my boy Ivan said in Solzhenitsyn’s “One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich”- “How can you expect a man who’s warm to understand a man who’s cold?”
So in a way, Jonas just like dat biblical gangsta Jonah, who was sent by the big G-man to tell the crooked cats of Nineveh that they best change their ways. And likewise, Jonas gotta spread dat pain and feeling even though them duds in the hood don’t want him to. Homies always sayin ignorance is bliss, but is it? Well the truth hurts dats fo’ damn sure. But on the real, a playa can’t experience life without experiencin pain. Naw mean?
“If he had stayed, he would have starved in other ways. He would have lived a life hungry for feelings, for color, for love.” (173)
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Catch me next time. Peace.