In The Giver, what is "seeing beyond"?

Expert Answers

An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

When Jonas is selected to be The Receiver, the Chief Elder explains why he is assigned such an important role in the community. She says that Jonas has all of the requirements needed to be The Receiver: intelligence, integrity, courage, wisdom (which will come with his training) and the capacity to See Beyond. To See Beyond means that Jonas can see differences, such as colors, and understand feelings on a deeper level than the average person. It's the capacity to gain wisdom through experiences, such as the memories that the Receiver gives him. Many times while discussing the memories, Jonas identifies difficult issues surrounding them and the community. He still needs the Giver's guidance, but his ability to discern between ideas, and other differences shows that Jonas has special skills to overcome Sameness. The Giver describes Seeing Beyond as follows:

"When you receive the memories, you have the capacity to see beyond. You'll gain wisdom, then, along with colors. And lots more. . . Our people made that choice, the choice to go to Sameness. . . we relinquished color when we relinquished sunshine and did away with differences" (95).

Jonas had the beginnings of Seeing Beyond when he first saw the color of the apple while playing catch with Asher. This proved that Jonas had the ability to identify differences and overcome Sameness. Again, that's mostly why he was chosen to be the next Receiver--because he can recognize differences. As he works with the Giver, he starts to gain more wisdom through different memories which also give him the power to conquer Sameness and see beyond it.

Approved by eNotes Editorial Team

We’ll help your grades soar

Start your 48-hour free trial and unlock all the summaries, Q&A, and analyses you need to get better grades now.

  • 30,000+ book summaries
  • 20% study tools discount
  • Ad-free content
  • PDF downloads
  • 300,000+ answers
  • 5-star customer support
Start your 48-Hour Free Trial