The Giver

Summary

Chapters 7–9

Summary Chapters 7–9

The old Receiver’s eyes are the same color as Jonas’s and the newchild Gabriel’s. Since Jonas’s eyes already have a metaphorical meaning in the story, symbolizing his uniqueness, his isolation from his community, and his depth of vision (both physical and mental), we immediately associate those qualities with the Receiver too. The shared eye color links the Receiver and Jonas, suggesting that Jonas was destined to be the Receiver even before his abilities were recognized by the Committee of Elders. This destiny could be genetic—the genes giving Jonas and the Receiver light eyes might also govern their personality traits and their abilities to see beyond—or it could be more mystical in nature, with the light eyes serving as a mark of special, mysterious powers. Lowry’s use of light eyes as a kind of talisman indicating powers that Jonas cannot explain or understand foreshadows Jonas’s training later in the novel, when the memories of the Receiver, as well as the way he transmits them, take on a mystical, inexplicable quality that demonstrates how little the other members of the community understand them.

The fact that the newchild Gabriel has the same color eyes as Jonas and the Receiver indicates that his character will play a very significant role in the novel. His eyes have already marked him as unusual, and they have already linked him to Jonas, but the fact that he shares qualities with the Receiver suggests that he is even more special—that he, too, might be gifted with mysterious powers.