The Giver Quotes: Pain, Memory, Individuality and More

The Giver is an American young adult dystopian novel penned by Lois Lowry in 1993. The book is set in a society that appears to be utopian but is revealed to be dystopian as the story progresses. This novel is loosely related to three other books that are set in the same future era. These are Gathering Blue (2000), Messenger (2004), and Son (2012). Check out some of the top Giver quotes here.

The Giver Quotes That Will Leave You Feeling What the Characters Felt

The Giver Quotes on Pain

#1. “But you will be faced, now,” she explained gently, “with pain of a magnitude that none of us here can comprehend because it is beyond our experience. The Receiver himself was not able to describe it, only to remind us that you would be faced with it, that you would need immense courage. We cannot prepare you for that.” — The Elders

#2. “We gained control of many things. But we had to let go of others.” — The Giver

#3. “Jonas did not want to go back. He didn’t want the memories, didn’t want the honor, didn’t want the wisdom, didn’t want the pain. He wanted his childhood again, his scraped knees and ball games.” — Lois Lowry

#4. “I liked the feeling of love,” he confessed. He glanced nervously at the speaker on the wall, reassuring himself that no one was listening. “I wish we still had that,‘ he whispered. ’Of course,‘ he added quickly, ’I do understand that it wouldn’t work very well. And that it’s much better to be organized the way we are now. I can see that it was a dangerous way to live.’” — Lois Lowry

#5. “Once he had yearned for choice. Then, when he had had a choice, he had made the wrong one: the choice to leave. And now he was starving. But if he had stayed… His thoughts continued. If he had stayed, he would have starved in other ways. He would have lived a life hungry for feelings, for color, for love. And Gabriel? For Gabriel there would have been no life at all. So there had not really been a choice.” — Lois Lowry

The Giver Quotes on Memory

#6. “He remembered that upon waking he had wanted to feel the Stirrings again. Then, in the same way that his own dwelling slipped away behind him as he rounded a corner on his bicycle, the dream slipped away from his thoughts. Very briefly, a little guiltily, he tried to grasp it back. But the feelings had disappeared. The Stirrings were gone.” — Lois Lowry

#7. “Have you ever once known of anyone—I mean really known for sure, not just heard a story about it—who joined another community?” — Jonas

#8. “The entire community had performed the Ceremony of Loss together, murmuring the name Caleb throughout an entire day, less and less frequently, softer in volume, as the long and somber day went on, so that the little Four seemed to fade away gradually from everyone’s consciousness.” — Lois Lowry

#9. “The hunger had caused excruciating spasms in his empty, distended stomach. He lay on the bed, aching. ‘Why do you and I have to hold these memories?’ ‘It gives us wisdom,’ The Giver replied.” — Lois Lowry

#10. “The worst part of holding the memories is not the pain. It’s the loneliness of it. Memories need to be shared.” — Lois Lowry

The Giver Quotes on Individuality

#11. “No one mentioned such things; it was not a rule, but was considered rude to call attention to things that were unsettling or different about individuals.” — Lois Lowry

#12. “Light eyes were not only a rarity but gave the one who had them a certain look—what was it? Depth, he decided; as if one were looking into the clear water of the river, down to the bottom, where things might lurk which hadn’t been discovered yet.” — Lois Lowry

#13. “It was an activity that he had performed countless times: throw, catch; throw, catch. It was effortless for Jonas, and even boring, though Asher enjoyed it.” — Lois Lowry

#14. “But each child knew his number, of course. Sometimes parents used them in irritation at a child’s misbehavior, indicating that mischief made one unworthy of a name. ‘Giver,’ Jonas suggested, ‘you and I don’t need to care about the rest of them.’ The Giver looked at him with a questioning smile. Jonas hung his head. Of course, they needed to care. It was the meaning of everything.” — Lois Lowry

Other The Giver Quotes

#15. “This job has aged me. I know I look as if I should be scheduled for release very soon. But actually, I have a good deal of time left.” — The Giver

#16. “Do you understand why it’s inappropriate to use a word like ‘love’? Mother asked. Jonas nodded. ‘Yes, thank you, I do,’ he replied slowly. It was his first lie to his parents.” — Lois Lowry

#17. “She insisted that I continue, that I not spare her. She said it was her duty. And I knew, of course, that she was correct. I couldn’t bring myself to inflict physical pain on her. But I gave her anguish of many kinds. Poverty, and hunger, and terror. I had to, Jonas. It was my job. And she had been chosen.” — Lois Lowry

#18. “I have great honor. So will you. But you will find that that is not the same as power.” — Lois Lowry

#19. “It didn’t seem a terribly important rule, but the fact that his father had broken a rule at all awed him. He glanced at his mother, the one responsible for adherence to the rules, and was relieved that she was smiling.” — Lois Lowry

#20. “There she was, my last glimpse of that beautiful child, waiting. They brought in the syringe and asked her to roll up her sleeve. You suggested, Jonas, that perhaps she wasn’t brave enough? I don’t know about bravery: what it is, what it means. I do know that I sat here numb with horror. Wretched with helplessness. And I listened as Rosemary told them that she would prefer to inject herself. Then she did so. I didn’t watch. I looked away.” — The Giver

#21. “Do you love me?” There was an awkward silence for a moment. Then Father gave a little chuckle. “Jonas. You, of all people. Precision of language, please!” — Lois Lowry

#22. “’I can’t swim very well,’ he said. ‘My swimming instructor said that I don’t have the right boyishness or something.’ ‘Buoyancy,’ Jonas corrected him.” — Lois Lowry

#23. “Jonas smiled back at his sister. Lily’s feelings were always straightforward, fairly simple, usually easy to resolve. He guessed that his own had been, too, when he was a Seven.” — Lois Lowry


The Giver won several laurels, including the Newbery Medal in 1994. It has sold more than 10 million copies worldwide. In the United States, Canada, and Australia, the book is prescribed on the reading list of many middle schools.

However, it is also frequently challenged. The novel ranked number 11 on the American Library Association of the most challenged books of the 1990s. A survey in the US, in the year 2012, designated The Giver as the fourth best children’s novel of all time.

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