In The Giver, what was Jonas’s concern about the concept of love?

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

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It is in Chapter Sixteen that the Giver passes on to Jonas a memory of family love. For Jonas, who has been brought up in a community which has erased such emotions as love, he is disturbed and attracted to this novelty. Note what he says to the Giver about his feelings after seeing and living the memory and how he responds to the Giver:

"I liked the feeling of love," he confessed. He glanced nervously at the speaker on the wall, reassuring himself that no one was listening. "I wish we still had that," he whispered. "Of course," he added quickly, "I do understand that it wouldn't work very well. And that it's much better to be organised the way we are now. I can see that it was a dangerous way to live."

For Jonas, who has been brought up in a community where human emotions have been eradicated and controlled through medication, love, with the way that it overpowers us and controls us and is so influential in our lives, can be rightfully seen as being "dangerous." However, as the text as a whole makes clear, by taking away such "dangerous" emotions, the lives that Jonas and the community of which he is a part are living are less than human.

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