In The Giver, why is Jonas scared of his new job?

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Jonas is initially apprehensive about discovering what assignment he will be given at the Ceremony of Twelve, because he is not particularly interested in any of the occupations he's volunteered at. During the Ceremony of Twelve, Jonas's number is skipped, which causes him extreme anxiety and makes him panic. The Chief Elder then apologizes for causing everyone anxiety and explains that Jonas has been selected to be the community's next Receiver of Memory, which is a revered, honorable position. She then briefly elaborates on the character traits needed to be assigned the position of Receiver of Memory. After she comments that Jonas must have courage, she explains that he will have to endure physical pain. Her comment regarding the pain involved in his assignment disturbs Jonas, and he is also worried about the fact that he will be apart and separated from his friends during his training. Jonas experiences more feelings of fear and uncertainty after he reads the rules to his assignment. Jonas is worried about the rule prohibiting him from taking medication to alleviate pain and is shocked when he discovers that he is allowed to lie. Overall, Jonas fears his new assignment, because he will be alone and experience extreme physical pain for the first time.

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Jonas is so anxious about his new position because it is so unlike any of the others, which in his society is taboo. First of all, he is skipped over and then singled out at the ceremony, which signals that this is no ordinary job. Then he gets certain rules that tell him that he can break cardinal rules of the society, such as he is allowed to lie. Then, he is informed that his job may cause him pain and he isn't allowed to seek treatment for that pain, and that he is not allowed to talk about his job with other people. All of these reasons are quite enough to scare anyone, let alone someone like Jonas who lives in a society where there is no pain, no suffering, and no secrets (or so he thinks).

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