How would you describe Fiona both physically and mentally in The Giver?

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litteacher8 | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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Fiona is Jonas’s friend.  Her most distinguishing physical characteristic is her red hair.  Generally people in the community look mostly alike, and differences are not appreciated.  Fiona is Jonas’s age, and he is number Nineteen while she is Eighteen.  Fiona is described as calm.

Jonas liked Fiona. She was a good student, quiet and polite, but she had a sense of fun as well. (ch 4, p. 28)

Jonas’s feelings for Fiona might be more mature than just friendship.  Jonas has his first Stirrings dream about Fiona when he works with her in the House of the Old.

Fiona loves the old, and her “caretaking skills” are recognized at the Ceremony of Twelve. (ch 7, p. 52).  The Elders are aware of this when they choose her assignment.

Fiona was given the important Assignment of Caretaker of the Old. It was perfect for such a sensitive, gentle girl, and her smile was satisfied and pleased. (ch 7, p. 56)

When Jonas and Fiona begin their training, they grow apart.  Jonas notices that Fiona has “undergone that fleeting indescribable change” (ch 12, p. 90).  He realizes that her hair is red, like the apple.  The Giver describes it as “quite distinctive” (p. 94).  Fiona’s hair is symbolic of the fact that Sameness is not as pervasive as the community members would like, and they don’t have complete control over genetics.

When Jonas finds out about release, one of the first things that occurs to him is that she must feel bad.  The Giver reminds him that Fiona does not know what she does.

"Fiona is already being trained in the fine art of release," The Giver told him. "She's very efficient at her work, your red-haired friend. Feelings are not part of the life she's learned." (ch 20, p. 153)

This is one of the defining moments for Jonas.  He realizes that no one—not his father, and not Fiona—is the person he thought.  He comes to decide that he needs to leave, and return the memories to the people.

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

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