1. One controversial topic that Lowry touches upon in The Giver is euthanasia, or the practice of ending someone’s life to ease their suffering. Jonas’s community practices euthanasia on very old citizens as well as upon unhealthy newchildren. Discuss the attitude toward euthanasia as expressed in The Giver. Does the novel condemn, promote, or conditionally accept the practice?
2. It is difficult for us to imagine a world without color, personal freedoms, and love, but in The Giver, society relinquishes these things in order to make room for total peace and safety. Consider the rules our society enforces in order to preserve the public good. Where do you think the line between public safety and personal freedom should be drawn?
3. Read another novel depicting a dystopian society (e.g., The Handmaid's Tale, Brave New World, or 1984). What techniques does this society use to maintain order? How does its structure differ from the community’s in The Giver?
4. Consider the community’s repression of sexuality in The Giver. What function does it serve in helping society run smoothly? What dangers do sexuality and love pose to a structured community? If you have read Brave New World, compare that society’s promotion of promiscuity to The Giver's restrictions—are these two opposite approaches used for the same reasons, and do they have the same result?
5. Language is often used as a tool for social control in The Giver. Choose two or three words used in the society (for example, release, newchild, Stirrings) whose meanings differ from their current meaning, and describe how they promote the rules and conventions of the community. How does the use of these words affect the behavior and attitudes of people in the community?
6. Examine The Giver’s attitude toward the community rules and culture. Which aspects of the community are the targets of the most criticism and condemnation? Do any aspects of the society escape criticism?