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In the beginning of the novel Jonas is like everyone else. He doesn't question how his society works and he is kept ignorant of the reality of their life. However, as the giver begins to give him memories, Jonas gains knowledge and insight into the world. He is no longer able to live his life as he used to because he no longer views his world through the eyes of ignorance. When he discovers what his society does during the release ceremonies, he decides to save the young child Gabriel by escaping the life he knows.
In the beginning of Lois Lowry's The Giver, Jonas strictly follows the rules set out by the Council of Elders that govern the Community. Regardless, he is still struggling with what (unbeknownst to him) are the hormonal changes and developmental shifts that accompany puberty. He experiences "stirrings" and feels concern over what his Assignment will be since, unlike some of his friends, he does not feel any particular attachment to a career.
Jonas remains compliant with the the values of the Community until he is chosen as the new Receiver during his Ceremony of Twelve. This assignment completely changes his life, as he is suddenly privy to the memories of the Community and released from following their rules. The remainder of the novel follows Jonas's movement toward enlightenment as he learns the truth about what human life was designed to be like. He becomes more "human" as he experiences a diverse range of emotions: love, joy, anger, and fear. Eventually, these experiences drive him to seek out "Elsewhere," a journey which he hopes will release the Community's emotions and memories back to them. Thus, Jonas goes from childlike innocence (a sheltered state) to intense curiosity (his education process as a Receiver) to a state of direct action (his rebellious decision to leave the Community).
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