Compare the relationship between Jonas and the Giver to Jonas's relationship with his family unit in The Giver by Lois Lowry.

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Initially, Jonas enjoys spending time with his family members and participating in the required evening and morning rituals. Jonas feels comfortable around his family and is not afraid to express his emotions, feelings, and concerns. Jonas also trusts his mother and father, who are depicted as kind, obedient people. They listen to Jonas, sympathize with his problems, and give him valuable advice.

Despite their warm, open relationship, Jonas does not have a deep, meaningful connection with his parents. After Jonas is selected to be the community's next Receiver of Memory, he immediately feels distant from his family members and cannot share his significant experiences with them. As Jonas's training sessions progress, he begins to resent his parents and recognizes that they are emotionally shallow, ignorant individuals. They do not understand the concept of love, and Jonas discovers that he has been lied to his entire life after witnessing his father release an infant. Once Jonas discovers the dark truth behind his community, he becomes furious and plans on fleeing his restrictive society.

In contrast to his shallow relationship with his parents, Jonas develops a close, meaningful bond with the Giver, who acts as his surrogate father. The Giver shares his most intimate experiences and memories with Jonas during their private training sessions, and they are the only citizens who genuinely feel strong emotions. Given the nature of their Assignments, the Giver and Jonas can only discuss their thoughts and feelings with each other as they struggle to cope with the difficult memories they harbor. The Giver and Jonas also understand the drawbacks of Sameness and discuss the pros and cons of their highly structured community.

Unlike Jonas's father and mother, the Giver is honest with him and tries his best to answer every question Jonas asks. Jonas appreciates the Giver's honesty and genuinely trusts and admires him. Overall, Jonas is significantly closer to the Giver than he is with the members of his family, and the nature of their Assignments brings them together.

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Jonas enjoys a warm and open relationship with the Giver. In the story, the Giver is also Jonas' mentor and confidant, someone who will provide honest answers to Jonas' pressing questions. The Giver never judges Jonas for his curiosity, and one gets the sense that he derives a measure of comfort from sharing his knowledge with Jonas.

In the story, the Giver also functions as both historian and chief rebel. He sees the negative impact Sameness has had on his society, and he aims to annihilate the power structure that has robbed his people of their humanity. Jonas' idealism energizes him, and he manages to forge a strong bond with the young apprentice.

In contrast, Jonas' relationship with his family unit is sterile and devoid of warmth. Since Sameness is supposed to eradicate competition and by extension, inequalities on every level, there is little tolerance for strong emotion within this new paradigm. Jonas also finds it difficult to confide in his parents, as they are deeply invested in the ideology of Sameness.

So, when the Giver shows Jonas what a happy family gathering used to look like, Jonas is amazed at the open affection everyone shows each other. He sees freedom and authenticity, and he concludes that the family the Giver has shown him is more "complete" than his own. The Giver tells him that the word for that completeness is "love," something Jonas has never experienced. Later, when he is home, Jonas asks his parents about love.

His parents are flabbergasted that Jonas would dare to discuss such a forbidden term. They become agitated and accuse him of not being "precise" with his language. Then, they proceed to explain how he should approach his relationship with them. However, their explanations fall flat, and for the first time in his life, Jonas realizes that his parents don't understand the meaning of love either. They have lost their ability to be objective and authentic.

In essence, the relationship between Jonas and his parents is adversarial; there is little loyalty and devotion between them. When Jonas realizes how much he loves Gabriel, he must carefully hide his affection for the baby from his parents. This adversarial relationship between Jonas and his parents contrasts from the relationship between him and the Giver. Jonas and the Giver share an intimate and powerful emotional connection. They trust and are loyal to each other. In the end, the Giver entrusts Jonas with a great responsibility: to bring back the old ways to society.

He tasks Jonas with the job of getting to Elsewhere, a task no one else has succeeded in accomplishing before. The Giver has implicit trust that Jonas will succeed. It is the Giver's faith in Jonas that inspires him to make the arduous trek to Elsewhere and to succeed in his mission.

 

 

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Jonas'relationship with his family is very clinical, formal,  and structured whereas Jonas' relationship with the Giver is emotionally charged, informal,  and unfiltered.  For example, when Jonas discusses dreams and events with his family, the conversation is kind, yet takes on an air of distance.  No passion exists when subjects are discussed.  When his sister Lily explains she felt angry at a boy who cut in line at the slide, the parents counsel her to learn to try to see things from the boy's point of view.  When Jonas discusses a dream he has about about his friend, Fiona, he stays back with his mother so she can explain "Stirrings", and tells him there is a pill for that.  The family unit is devoid of emotion and passion, a stark contrast to familial relationships in American society.

Emotion and passion is the core of the relationship Jonas has with the Giver, which makes sense since memories of emotion are being transmitted to Jonas.  When Jonas experiences painful memories such as starvation which no other members of his community have experienced except the Giver, the bond is forged.  Pleasant memories increase the bond, too; however, those of pain, sorrow, and anguish set these two character apart because nobody else can possibly understand.  This makes their relationship far more intense.

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