In Lois Lowry's The Giver, how does the writer use character to express conflict?

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

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You might want to examine this question by looking at the way in which Jonas's job as Assistant Memory Keeper produces conflict between him and his former friends. A key moment that demonstrates this is in Chapter Seventeen, when the children enjoy an unscheduled holiday. Jonas is looking forward to playing with his friends, but as they play a game whose meaning has been lost, Jonas recognises it for what it is: a child's version of a war. Jonas is overwhelmed by memories that have been "shared" with him of pain and conflict, and the game halts awkwardly. Asher and Fiona are unable to comprehend or understand the viewpoint of Jonas, and we are left with an image of Jonas by himself, overwhelmed by loneliness and loss:

Jonas trudged to the bench beside the Storehouse and sat down, overwhelmed with feelings of loss. His childhood, his friendships, his carefree sense of security--all of these things seemed to be slipping away. With his new, heightened feelings, he was overwhelmed by sadness at the way the others had laughed and shouted, playing at war. But he knew that they could not understand why, without the memories. He felt such love for Asher and for Fiona. But they could not feel it back, without the memories. And he could not give them those.

Note here how Jonas, in a sudden moment of realisation, realises how conflict has been produced from his assignment. His knowledge of the past and the memories that have been shared with him has produced conflict and division between him and his former friends, such as Asher and Fiona. With sadness, Jonas realises that now his relationships have been irrevocably affected for the worse.

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