The Giver Questions and Answers
by Lois Lowry

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What did Jonas learn about the community's rule about lying in The Giver?

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Felicita Burton eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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When Jonas is selected to be the Receiver of Memories, the receiver who is giving up the position (the Giver) begins to tell him many truths that had been hidden from him before he became a Twelve. Even though he is told that he will now have permission to lie—which does not match his conception of proper behavior—the revelations he receives go much deeper than that.

Basically, all the labels applied to events and behaviors in his society are euphemisms intended to prevent people from contemplating any difficult life transition, and especially mortality. Jonas begins to understand the relationship between lying and power: the society's rulers have power over the populace because they manipulate the facts.

The most potent example of this deception is the concept of "releasing." In some regards, it is accurate, because the subjects do let go—but what they release is life itself. Once he realizes that "releasing" means "death," Jonas opts for friendship and rebellion.

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As a child, Jonas...

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hhhhllll | Student

Jonas had learned that the community's rule about lying is not a complete rule as some of the jobs within the community also allow the worker to lie. For example: Jonas had found out that his father is able to lie as he was told the newborn baby would be picked up from a person from elsewhere but instead the baby was killed and disposed of. He had also figured out that his friend Fiona would also be involved in this act of "releasing" as she is a caretaker of the old and will eventually have to realease a member of the old house.

manpreet23 | Student

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