Why is it ironic when Jonas is chided for not using precise language when he asks his father if he loves him?
"Do you love me?" There is an ackward silence for a moment. Then father gave a little chuckle. "Jonas. You of all people. Precison of language please!
What is ironic about this dialogue between Jonas and his father? Remember that Jonas does adhere to "precision fo language." What do you think Jonas wants his father to say? How might this be a major turing point in Jonas's perception of things?
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Love does not exist in the community. The word has lost all meaning, so you cannot use it. Jonas was being precise, because he does understand love. He learned the meaning of the word when he saw the memory of grandparents and the birthday party. He realizes when he gets his father’s answer that his father cannot love him because he does not know what love is.
There are several reasons why this is ironic. In our society, parents love their children. The terms father and mother are therefore ironic, because the adults in these families are not really serving as true parents. It’s also ironic because Jonas is chided for using imprecise language, when in fact he is the one who is being precise even if his father does not understand it. Finally, I think this is ironic because Jonas does really love someone- Gabriel. Jonas’s love for Gabriel is like a parent or brother, and it is his realization that his father cannot love that is the first step toward him leaving the community and freeing his people from their bondage to sameness.
I the book "The Giver" language is only relative to the needs and words that the community is conditioned to use relative to their environment. Certain words and phases have been deleted from communication. People use words like hate and love, but the depth of the words is different.
When Jonas goes to his father and asks his father if he loves him, his father laughs because it is known that a parental unit loves each of their two children. However, the irony is that the father has no real idea of what love actually is like. To him it is a term and a trained statement and expectation. When Jonas' sister states she hated something, Jonas realizes she has no true measure or idea of what hate can be.
Jonas has used the words love in correct precision to their defiition per the memories he has been given. It is the father who can not use the words with precision.
Jonas probably wanted some evidence that his father had the level of understanding of a humans need to be loved. Once he realized that he is so different from his parents and the people in the community he begins to perceive that he does not and never will belong in his society or have any relationship of value within the society again.
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