Do you think that Lois Lowry makes it possible to feel sympathy for Jonas in the novel, The Giver? Support your ideas with details from the novel.

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mizzwillie | Middle School Teacher | (Level 1) Senior Educator

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Yes, I do believe that Lois Lowry makes it possible to feel sympathy for Jonas in her novel, The Giver.  In the beginning of the novel, Jonas is a quiet boy with friends, ordinary activities like bike riding, and a family with both mom and dad present in his life.  Then, Jonas reaches the age of twelve, becomes the Receiver of Memories, and everything changes for him.  Because we as readers have identified with the ordinary Jonas, the change Jonas goes through and the pain it causes him provoke sympathy for his plight in the reader.  We too understand that he is now alone, unsure about the community he lives in and what the cost is for their uneventful lives, and fearful also about what lies ahead.  I think at this point of the novel, the reader has a great deal of sympathy for Jonas.  The third part of the novel, when Jonas tries to escape his community with the baby, is ambiguous in its ending, leaving us to decide whether Jonas escapes and lives or not.  With each step, the author makes us aware that Jonas was an ordinary boy put into an extraordinary situation, and that as readers, sympathy for Jonas and the decisions he makes is justified.

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