In The Giver why do you think the old man looks sad at the end of the first day of training?

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accessteacher | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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This section of the novel comes in Chapter Eleven, as Jonas completes his first day of his assignment. Crucial to understanding why the old man looks said is what has just come before. Note what Jonas says about his experience of having sunburn and feeling its pain:

"It hurt a lot," Jonas said, "but I'm glad you gave it to me. It was interesting. And now I understand better, what it meant, that there would be pain."

In response to this, the old man doesn't say anything. Let us remember what happened to Rosemary, the Receiver of Memories before Jonas, who couldn't take the pain and suffering of memories much, much worse than sunburn, and volunteered to kill herself. Presumably we can infer that the old man is looking "drained, and a little sad," precisely because he knows what Jonas doesn't: the pain from memories such as war and dying are infinitely worse than a bit of sunburn, and Jonas has to face all of these memories, too.

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