The eleven-year-old protagonist of The Giver. Sensitive and intelligent, with strange powers of perception that he doesn’t understand, Jonas is chosen to be the new Receiver of Memory for his community when he turns twelve. Even before his training, Jonas is unusually thoughtful, expresses great concern for his friends and family, and thinks it would be nice to be closer to other people. After his training begins, Jonas’s universe widens dramatically. His new awareness of strong emotions, beautiful colors, and great suffering makes him extremely passionate about the world around him and the welfare of the people he loves, though on the whole, he remains level-headed and thoughtful.

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The Giver

The old man known in the community as the Receiver of Memory. The Giver has held the community’s collective memory for many years and uses his wisdom to help the Committee of Elders make important decisions, even though he is racked by the pain his memories give him and believes that perhaps those memories belong in the minds of everyone in the community.

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Jonas’s father

A mild-mannered, tenderhearted Nurturer who works with infants. He is very sweet with his two children. He enjoys his job and takes it very seriously, constantly trying to nurture children who will stay alive until the Ceremony of Names. However, even if he is attached to a child, he will release it if that seems to be the best decision. He has an affectionate, playful relationship with his two children, usually referring to them by silly nicknames, and he likes playing childish games with the children he nurtures.

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Jonas’s mother

A practical, pleasant woman with an important position at the Department of Justice. Jonas’s mother takes her work seriously, hoping to help people who break rules see the error of their ways. She frequently gives Jonas advice about the worries and fears he faces as he grows up.

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Jonas’s seven-year-old sister. She is a chatterbox and does not know quite when to keep her mouth shut, but she is also extremely practical and well-informed for a little girl.

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The newchild (baby) that Jonas’s family cares for at night. He is sweet and adorable during the day, but he has trouble sleeping at night unless Jonas puts him to sleep with some memories. He and Jonas become very close.

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Jonas’s best friend. Asher is a fun-loving, hasty boy who usually speaks too fast, mixing up his words to the exasperation of his teachers and Jonas. He is assigned the position of Assistant Director of Recreation.

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Another of Jonas’s friends. She has red hair, whose color only Jonas can see, and works as a Caretaker in the House of the Old. She is mild-mannered and patient. Jonas’s first sexual stirrings come in the form of an erotic dream about Fiona.

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A woman living in the House of the Old. Jonas shares a pleasant conversation with her while he gives her a bath during his volunteer hours. Like many inhabitants of the House of the Old, she enjoys gossip and looks forward to her release.

The Chief Elder

The elected leader of Jonas’s community. She shows genuine affection for all of the children at the Ceremony of Twelve, knowing their names and sharing an anecdote about each one.