How is Jonas's personality revealed in The Giver? Please provide page numbers.

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litteacher8 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Jonas is the narrator and protagonist of The Giver, and therefore a well-developed character.  Since you asked for two quotations, let’s begin with the beginning.  The exposition of a story is very important for introducing the reader to the setting and characters.  Since the world of this book is so different from ours, author Lois Lowry begins by allowing us into Jonas’s head in order to explore the setting of the story.

I think a good quotation from the beginning of the book that demonstrates Jonas’s personality is this one from chapter 1, page 4:

He had waited a long time for this special December.  Now that it was almost upon him, he wasn’t frightened, but he was … eager, he decided.  He was eager for it to come.  And he was excited, certainly.  All of the elevens were excited about the event that would be coming so soon.

But there was a little shudder of nervousness when he thought about it, about what might happen.  Apprehensive, Jonas decided.  That’s what I am.


This quotation demonstrates several of Jonas's personality traits.  He is careful, but also self-aware.  He worries about uncertainty, but he approaches it with excitement too.  These feelings, and this quotation, foreshadow the important event that will happen at the ceremony.  Jonas will be chosen as the new Receiver of Memory.

Another important quotation that describes Jonas is near the climax of the story, when Jonas has just watched his father inject and kill the newborn twin.  The video sends him reeling, and for the first time he realizes the dark undercurrent of his community.  On page 152, at the beginning of chapter 20, after the voice comes over the speaker:

“I will take care of that, sir.  I will take care of that, sir,” Jonas mimicked in a cruel, sarcastic voice.  “I will do whatever you like, sir.  I will kill people, sir.  Old people?  Small newborn people?  I’d be happy to kill them, sir.  Thank you for your instructions, sir.  How may I help y-“ He couldn’t seem to stop.

Jonas does not stop until The Giver shakes him.  His response is physical, visceral and raw.  He questions everything he has ever known, and he is left feeling hopeless.  By mocking the speaker, he is mocking the structure of the community.  The speaker is symbolic of control and sameness.  For the first time, Jonas has a strong feeling about his own community.

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The Giver

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