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When Jonas's mother says,''this is different. It's not a job, really. I never thought,...

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jinapatel | eNotes Newbie

Posted October 30, 2013 at 8:58 PM via web

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When Jonas's mother says,''this is different. It's not a job, really. I never thought, never expected .....,'' what does this reveal to the reader in The Giver?

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litteacher8 | Middle School Teacher | (Level 1) Distinguished Educator

Posted October 30, 2013 at 10:43 PM (Answer #1)

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Jonas’s mother’s reaction to his selection shows that the position of Receiver of Memory is prestigious, mysterious, and extremely important to the community.

When Jonas is selected Receiver of Memory, he is shocked.  He was skipped in the ceremony, which he found greatly disturbing, and then he was given an honor he never dreamed of or expected.  Everyone begins to treat him differently, even his parents.

When Jonas appears uneasy about starting training, his parents try to explain what an honor it is to be chosen.

"You've been greatly honored," his mother said. "Your father and I are very proud."

"It's the most important job in the community," Father said. (Ch. 9, p. 67)

When Jonas’s mother says that Receiver is not really a job, she is highlighting the rarity of the assignment.  They go on to say that they remember the last receiver, a girl.  This foreshadows Rosemary, who committed suicide by requesting release after she saw the memories.  Her name is “Not-to-Be-Spoken,” which is a great disgrace.  Jonas doesn’t find out until much later what actually happened.

 With great power comes great responsibility.  This is something Jonas learns quickly.  He knows more than anyone else in his community, and he has to use that knowledge wisely.  He finally decides to use it by giving it back to the people, in order to set them free from Sameness.

Lowry, Lois (1993-04-26). The Giver (Newbery Medal Book). Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. Kindle Edition.

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