"The Giver" by Lois Lowry, Chapters 14–18

Twelve-year-old Jonas lives in a regimented community that is free from pain and suffering — but also free from joy, independence, and even color. When he is appointed the community's Receiver of Memory, Jonas begins to question everything he has been taught.

Here are links to our lists for the novel: Chapters 1–4, Chapters 5–8, Chapters 9–13, Chapters 14–18, Chapters 19–23

Here are links to our lists for the other novels in The Giver Quartet: Gathering Blue, Messenger, Son

Activities for this list:

definitions & notes only words
  1. agony
    intense feelings of suffering; acute mental or physical pain
    In his agony he perceived the word “fire” and felt flames licking at the torn bone and flesh.
    "Agony" is from the Greek "agon" which means "struggle" and can be seen in the words "protagonist" and "antagonist." Usually, a protagonist is agonized because of a struggle with a specific antagonist. Here, Jonas is struggling with the pain of a memory of a broken leg. The antagonists that cause Jonas agony are not identifiable humans he can fight; rather, they are the world's memories of the past and his present community's attitudes and approaches towards life.
  2. writhe
    move in a twisting or contorted motion
    Then, suddenly, he was in the Annex room again, writhing on the bed.
  3. brutal
    The brutal slice of pain was gone.
    "Brutal" also means "resembling a brute or beast; showing lack of human sensibility"--this definition is the opposite of what the brutal pain does to Jonas: while it may temporarily reduce him to a screaming pile of flesh and bone, it also makes him more aware of what being human means and feels like. The Giver explains, “It gives us wisdom.”
  4. deliverance
    recovery or preservation from loss or danger
    There was always a daub of anesthetic ointment, or a pill; or in severe instances, an injection that brought complete and instantaneous deliverance.
  5. linger
    leave slowly and hesitantly
    But this ache lingered.
  6. unendurable
    incapable of being put up with
    It was not unendurable, as the pain on the hill had been.
  7. desperately
    in a state of intense distress and hopelessness
    The realization made him feel desperately lonely, and he rubbed his throbbing leg.
  8. forsake
    leave someone who needs or counts on you; leave in the lurch
    Again and again he dreamed of the anguish and the isolation on the forsaken hill.
  9. fracture
    breaking of hard tissue such as bone
    The agony of the fractured leg began to seem no more than a mild discomfort as The Giver led Jonas firmly, little by little, into the deep and terrible suffering of the past.
  10. assuage
    provide physical relief, as from pain
    It was not enough to assuage the pain that Jonas was beginning, now, to know.
  11. excruciating
    extremely painful
    "Why?" Jonas asked him after he had received a torturous memory in which he had been neglected and unfed; the hunger had caused excruciating spasms in his empty, distended stomach.
    "Torturous" and "excruciating" are synonymous adjectives with different roots: "torturous" comes from the Latin "torquere" which means "to twist" (and can also be seen in "contorted"); "excruciating" comes from the Latin "cruciare" and "crux" which mean "to crucify on a cross"--this could suggest that the Receiver is a Christ-like figure, since both were chosen to take on the painful burdens of the larger community.
  12. burden
    an onerous or difficult concern
    "But then everyone would be burdened and pained. They don’t want that. And that’s the real reason The Receiver is so vital to them, and so honored. They selected me—and you—to lift that burden from themselves.”
  13. ominous
    threatening or foreshadowing evil or tragic developments
    Now it was ominous. It meant, he knew, that nothing could be changed.
  14. rigid
    fixed and unmoving
    The Giver was rigid in his chair, his face in his hands.
  15. contorted
    twisted, especially as in pain or struggle
    The Giver looked up at him, his face contorted with suffering.
  16. anguish
    extreme distress of body or mind
    “Put your hands on me,” he directed, aware that in such anguish The Giver might need reminding.
  17. brace
    prepare for something unpleasant or difficult
    Jonas braced himself and entered the memory which was torturing The Giver.
  18. parched
    dried out by heat or excessive exposure to sunlight
    “Water,” the voice said in a parched, croaking whisper.
  19. carnage
    the savage and excessive killing of many people
    The colors of the carnage were grotesquely bright: the crimson wetness on the rough and dusty fabric, the ripped shreds of grass, startlingly green, in the boy’s yellow hair.
    "Grotesque" means "distorted and unnatural in shape or size" (often to a monstrous degree)--this is a fitting adjective for the colors of carnage, especially to a boy who is unused to seeing color and images of war.
  20. immobilize
    cause to be unable to move
    One of Jonas’s arms was immobilized with pain, and he could see through his own torn sleeve something that looked like ragged flesh and splintery bone.
  21. implore
    call upon in supplication
    Finally, when the container was open, he extended his arm slowly across the blood-soaked earth, inch by inch, and held it to the lips of the boy. Water trickled into the imploring mouth and down the grimy chin.
  22. stench
    a distinctive odor that is offensively unpleasant
    Overwhelmed by pain, he lay there in the fearsome stench for hours, listened to the men and animals die, and learned what warfare meant.
  23. solitude
    the state or situation of being alone
    Although he had through the memories learned about the pain of loss and loneliness, now he gained, too, an understanding of solitude and its joy.
  24. permeate
    spread or diffuse through
    And his new, heightened feelings permeated a greater realm than simply his sleep.
  25. shudder
    tremble convulsively, as from fear or excitement
    Then they were all silent, standing awkwardly, and the only sound was the sound of Jonas’s shuddering breaths.
    Jonas is shuddering because he is struggling not to cry. Having experienced war through a memory, he is distraught at the sight of children giggling while they pretend to kill and die. Although crying is often seen as weakness, Jonas shows courage when he walks into the center of the field, stands alone against the players, and displays an intense emotion that the others don't know how to respond to.
  26. dejected
    affected or marked by low spirits
    “Me,” Jonas said in a dejected voice. He was not looking forward to the end of the training, when he would become the new Receiver. It was clear to him what a terribly difficult and lonely life it was, despite the honor.
  27. falter
    be or become weak, unsteady, or uncertain
    His voice faltered and trailed off.
  28. insist
    be emphatic or resolute and refuse to budge
    She insisted that I continue, that I not spare her.
  29. inflict
    impose something unpleasant
    I couldn’t bring myself to inflict physical pain on her.
  30. devastate
    overwhelm or overpower
    I was so devastated by my own grief at her loss, and my own feeling of failure, that I didn’t even try to help them through it.

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