Why does Jonas claim that "it isn't fair that nothing has color" in Lois Lowry's The Giver?  

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pohnpei397's profile pic

pohnpei397 | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted on

Here is what I think is going on here -- he is worried about being unable to choose.

What bothers Jonas right now is that people are not able to choose because they do not know about colors.  He thinks that people should be able to choose things such as what color of clothes they want to wear on that particular day.

So, to Jonas, the fact that people can't see color is another bad thing about Sameness -- it prevents people from being able to make choices in their lives.

tinicraw's profile pic

tinicraw | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

Posted on

Jonas says, "it isn't fair that nothing has color!" in Chapter thirteen. The Giver then asks him to explain what he means by that, and Jonas replies with the following:

"If everything's the same, then there aren't any choices! I want to wake up in the morning and decide things! A blue tunic, or a red one?" (123).

Jonas makes a very significant connection between the ability to see colors and the ability to make choices. Being able to see colors also provides a person with an opportunity to develop a sense of personal preference. For example, one can get to know a person a little better by asking what his or her favorite color is. A person's favorite color represents free choice and personal preference. Since no one in Jonas's community can see color, minor decisions such as what color to wear each day are taken away. This also limits people's ability to acquire personal preferences.

Without ever knowing it, the citizens of Jonas's community do not have an opportunity to make such choices with color, and who knows what else, because the options have already been stricken from people's use. Jonas understands this when he says that it isn't fair not to see colors. He realizes that colors represent free choice, personal preference, and the fact that these things were taken away from the community in an effort to live with what the Giver calls Sameness.


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