Honestly, i hated the ending of The Giver. I can't stand cliffhangers, for some reason I always have the need that I need to know what happens at the end. Of course ambiguous endings make it a mystery and exciting, although they also can sometimes make you not stop thinking about the for a period of time. I want to get an answer from Lois Lowry wether Jonas lives or dies! I mean, what did ever happen to him? To Gabe? Sadly, Lois wants the readers to think about the ending, to make up their own. She has been interviewed many times about the ending of the book, though. Some of her responses appear below.
GR: Who do they usually ask about?
LL: Most readers in the early days would ask about Jonas [the protagonist of The Giver]. By the time I wrote a couple more books [2000's Gathering Blue and 2004's Messenger], it was clear where he was. But I had not dealt with the baby, and I had not realized that kids would be so attached to a toddler. I started [writing Son] with him as an adolescent, but I found my own attention diverted by who had given birth to him. What turns out to be the final third of the book, when he began questioning about his own mother, started out as the beginning of the book.
GR: Do you think that love for the book made you feel a certain sense of responsibility? A need to give readers an ending?
LL: I suppose I did. Not consciously. When you ask the question, I realize I must have. Mostly I felt I wanted to tie things up, to make people feel satisfied with the ending. I know that, nonetheless, there will be some readers who will still ask, "Yes, but what about Gabe?" I think you can assume that he'll be OK.
Student Question: Dear Lois Lowry, My name is Melissa. My class just finished the book The Giver (aka Great Book). But we have to do a project and ask you questions: Did Jonas marry anyone in his later life? Did Jonas go to college? Did Jonas ever return to the community? Did Jonas get a job? Did Jonas buy a house? Please answer these questions as soon as possible. Thanks a lot and good job on both Number the Stars and The Giver. I read both. Melissa
Lois Lowry: You will meet Jonas again very soon in a book called Messenger to be published in April. I don’t want to ruin the book for you by answering your questions too specifically. But it is about 7 years after the end of The Giver. So Jonas is a young man. He has a particular role, or job, in the place where he lives. He lives in his own house. Not married... But... oh, that’s all I’m going to tell you.
I believe that Jonas does live! I think that he stayed alive through the journey to "elsewhere" and has finally reached it. Some of my classmates think that Jonas had died and that was just a happy memory going through his head as he passes, but they are wrong. I can't exactly explain why I think Jonas is still alive, I can just feel it. Also Lois sort of hinted at the fact that he is still alive by saying he appears again in the book, Messenger. This takes place about 7 years after The Giver and there is a character named Jonas. Many of the students in my class also got confused by the ending, "Behind him, across vast distances of space and time, from the place he had left, he thought he heard music too. But perhaps it was only an echo." This kind of threw me off while trying to decide if he was alive or dead, but i finally realized that it was real, or literal. He is not dreaming or dead, he has finally reached this "elsewhere" that he had been searching for.