Lois Lowry uses a third-person limited narrator to tell her story. The impersonal narrative voice does not belong to a character within the novel, but effectively tells the story from Jonas's point of view. The reader only comes to learn certain things about the world at the time when Jonas learns them himself. An example of this comes when Jonas begins to perceive color. Rather than explain to us that Jonas (and the rest of the community) sees everything in black and white, Lowry does not mention colors at all until Jonas begins to learn what they are. When he first sees the apple as red, he does not understand what he is seeing. Like Jonas, the reader is at first left in the dark as to what has actually taken place.
Lowry enables the reader to begin by believing, along with Jonas, that his community is a perfect world, with virtually no crime, no danger, and high levels of contentment. She achieves this by limiting the narrative perspective to Jonas's point of view. As the novel develops, and Jonas comes to question the values of his society, our perceptions of its dystopian elements grow at the same speed as his. For instance, we only discover that people who are “released” are in fact murdered when Jonas watches the video of his father injecting the smaller of the two twins. In this way, reading the novel becomes a process of discovery.
The narrator does not give us direct access to what characters aside from Jonas are thinking or feeling at any given moment. Lowry does not indicate whether Jonas's parents feel guilty about their participation in the darker aspects of the community. We never learn for sure if there are other people who, like Jonas, question the values of the community. The limited point of view relates to the novel's thematic concern with free will. The Giver indicates that the other people in the community, aside from Jonas and himself, do not have the same capacity for complex emotions and thoughts because of the way society conditions them. “They know nothing,” he says more than once. Without access to the memories that Jonas and the Giver have shared, the members of the community are unable to feel deeply or to make judgements about right and wrong. About Jonas's friend Fiona, the Giver says, “Feelings are not part of the life she's learned.” Therefore, it seems fitting that Lowry does not allow us to read Fiona’s (or the rest of the community’s) inner thoughts.