"The Giver" by Lois Lowry, Chapters 19–23

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. puncture
    pierce with a pointed object; make a hole into
    To his surprise, his father began very carefully to direct the needle into the top of the newchild’s forehead, puncturing the place where the fragile skin pulsed.
  2. receptacle
    a container that is used to put or keep things in
    He turned aside and dropped the syringe into a waste receptacle.
  3. numb
    so frightened as to be unable to move
    I do know that I sat here numb with horror.
  4. wretched
    very unhappy; full of misery
    Wretched with helplessness.
  5. bitter
    harsh or corrosive in tone
    The Giver turned to him. “Well, there you are, Jonas. You were wondering about release,” he said in a bitter voice.
    The chosen definition focuses on how The Giver's voice sounds to Jonas. But "bitter" also means "marked by strong resentment or cynicism" and "expressive of severe grief or regret"--these definitions could describe the feelings The Giver has, because his own daughter, unable to handle the pain of being chosen as a Receiver, was pushed to apply for release (without knowing exactly what it is).
  6. emerge
    come up to the surface of or rise
    Jonas felt a ripping sensation inside himself, the feeling of terrible pain clawing its way forward to emerge in a cry.
    The description almost sounds as if Jonas were giving birth, but what's emerging from him is not a crying baby but a crying realization that everything he had always known about life in the community is wrong. This pushes him to make plans to start a new life in order to save lives and to force the community to emerge from their own ignorance of the truths.
  7. mimic
    imitate, especially for satirical effect
    "I will take care of that, sir. I will take care of that, sir,” Jonas mimicked in a cruel, sarcastic voice.
  8. efficient
    being effective without wasting time, effort, or expense
    She’s very efficient at her work, your red-haired friend.
  9. rueful
    feeling or expressing pain or sorrow for sins or offenses
    The Giver gave a rueful, anguished, empty laugh.
  10. emphatically
    without question and beyond doubt
    Jonas shook his head emphatically. “No, Giver,” he said. “I want you to keep that, to have with you, when I’m gone.”
  11. plea
    a humble request for help from someone in authority
    He knew the answer even as he made the final plea.
  12. stealthy
    marked by quiet and caution and secrecy
    It was terribly dangerous because some of the work crews were still about, but he moved stealthily and silently, staying in the shadows, making his way past the darkened dwellings and the empty Central Plaza, toward the river.
  13. condemn
    pronounce a punishment, as in a court of law
    He thought of the rules he had broken so far: enough that if he were caught, now, he would be condemned.
    "Condemn" also means "declare or judge unfit for use or habitation"--although this often applies to buildings, it could apply to Jonas, since a useless member of the community would receive condemnation ("strong disapproval") before being condemned to a sentence of release.
  14. languid
    lacking spirit or liveliness
    Before he had left the dwelling, he had laid his hands firmly on Gabe’s back and transmitted to him the most soothing memory he could: a slow- swinging hammock under palm trees on an island someplace, at evening, with a rhythmic sound of languid water lapping hypnotically against a beach nearby.
  15. fugitive
    someone who is sought by law officers
    Together the fugitives slept through the first dangerous day.
    "Fugitive" also means "someone who flees from a situation that is uncongenial" ("very unfavorable to life or growth")--both definitions fit, since the community sends search planes after the lawbreakers, who are running towards an Elsewhere that would not have Receivers and releases.
  16. augmented
    added to or made greater in amount or number or strength
    The journey had become automatic: the sleep by day, hidden in underbrush and trees; the finding of water; the careful division of scraps of food, augmented by what he could find in the fields.
  17. intently
    with strained or eager attention
    But he was alert at night, too, on the road, always listening intently for the sound of the engines.
  18. vigilant
    carefully observant or attentive
    As he pedaled through the nights, through isolated landscape now, with the communities far behind and no sign of human habitation around him or ahead, he was constantly vigilant, looking for the next nearest hiding place should the sound of engines come.
  19. haphazard
    marked by great carelessness
    They came less often, and flew, when they did come, less slowly, as if the search had become haphazard and no longer hopeful.
  20. peril
    a source of danger
    But now there were new fears; the unfamiliar landscape held hidden, unknown perils.
  21. relentless
    The most relentless of his new fears was that they would starve.
  22. meager
    deficient in amount or quality or extent
    They finished the meager store of potatoes and carrots they had saved from the last agricultural area, and now they were always hungry.
  23. subside
    wear off or die down
    But when the memory glimpses subsided, he was left with the gnawing, painful emptiness.
  24. yearn
    desire strongly or persistently
    Once he had yearned for choice. Then, when he had had a choice, he had made the wrong one: the choice to leave.
  25. feeble
    lacking strength or vigor
    Gabriel moved feebly against him and whimpered briefly into the silence that surrounded them.
  26. obscure
    make less visible or unclear
    But now the rapidly deepening snow obscured the narrow road and made the ride impossible.
  27. lethargy
    weakness characterized by a lack of vitality or energy
    Warming himself ever so briefly had shaken away the lethargy and resignation and restored his will to survive.
    "Resignation" means "the act of giving up" or "acceptance of despair"--it is an emotional obstacle that is harder to overcome than physical lethargy, but Jonas, with the help of his warm memories and the reminder that Gabe is depending on him, finds the courage and strength to shake off both.
  28. impede
    be a hindrance or obstacle to
    But the hill was treacherously steep; he was impeded by the snow and his own lack of strength.
  29. trudge
    walk heavily and firmly, as when weary, or through mud
    The top of the hill seemed so far away, and he did not know what lay beyond. But there was nothing left to do but continue. He trudged upward.
  30. incision
    a depression scratched or carved into a surface
    The runners sliced through the snow and the wind whipped at his face as they sped in a straight line through an incision that seemed to lead to the final destination, the place that he had always felt was waiting, the Elsewhere that held their future and their past.

Sign up, it's free!

Whether you're a student, an educator, or a lifelong learner, Vocabulary.com can put you on the path to systematic vocabulary improvement.