What are some character traits of Jonas in The Giver?

In The Giver, Jonas is thoughtful, careful, brave, and empathetic. These character traits, in conjunction with his capacity to see beyond, are what lead to him being selected as the next Receiver of Memory.

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Jonas is a highly sensitive and intelligent young man. It is these very qualities that give him a unique insight into life in the society in which he lives, as well as providing him with the means to challenge its warped moral values.

Furthermore, Jonas is blessed with a heightened sense of perception. This makes him especially well-suited for the important role of Receiver of Memory. When receiving memories from the Giver, he's able to see things that no one else can see, even if he doesn't always understand what he sees.

From the perspective of the community's Elders, it's good that Jonas should possess the perception necessary to help him perform his vital social role. But at the same time, this quality of his enables him to question the very foundations of society—and, of course, that's the very last thing that the Elders want him to do.

This is a society in which it doesn't pay to ask too many questions. However, Jonas can't help but ask them as he becomes more emotionally attached to the world around him. It is the richness and depth of Jonas's emotional life that makes it possible for him to see his community as being ultimately founded on evil.

Last Updated by eNotes Editorial on November 30, 2020
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Jonas is a considerate, unique adolescent in The Giver and is selected to be the community's next Receiver of Memory. Unlike his family, peers, and neighbors, Jonas has the unique capacity to see beyond, which allows him to see colors. During the December Ceremony, the Chief Elder elaborates on several of Jonas's character traits by stating that he is intelligent, brave, and has integrity. Jonas is also an obedient, honest adolescent and displays both of these attributes by following society's strict rules, regulating his language, and telling the truth.

Jonas is also an innocent adolescent and does not recognize the negatives attached to the principles of Sameness. Jonas's innocence is also depicted by his understanding of the term "release," which he discovers is a euphemism for euthanasia. Jonas is also a dynamic, conflicted character, who struggles with his decision to rebel against society or continue passively living in a boring world.

Once Jonas learns the truth about release, he is appalled and heartbroken. Jonas's decision to save Gabriel's life and travel to Elsewhere demonstrates his courage and selfless personality. By rescuing Gabriel from being released, Jonas risks his life and embraces an uncertain future. During Jonas's journey to Elsewhere, he displays his compassionate nature by transferring pleasant memories to Gabriel, and he proves that he is resourceful by living off the land.

Last Updated by eNotes Editorial on November 30, 2020
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Throughout the novel, Jonas is an insightful, sympathetic, brave individual, who risks his life by saving Gabriel from being released. At the beginning of the novel, Jonas is depicted as a morally upright individual who listens to his conscience and obeys the community's rules. Despite Jonas's intelligence, he is relatively naive about the makeup of his community because he has not been exposed to the truth. After receiving his Assignment to be the community's next Receiver of Memory, Jonas gains some perspective about life and the world around him. Jonas courageously endures painful sessions with the Giver; he experiences the worst memories throughout the world. After witnessing his father execute an infant during a release ceremony, Jonas makes up his mind to flee the community. Instead of selfishly leaving everybody behind to deal with his painful memories, Jonas rescues Gabe and journeys into the wilderness with him. Overall, Jonas's insight, bravery, and empathy are several significant character traits that make him an unforgettable protagonist.

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Jonas is thoughtful, careful, and has the Capacity to See Beyond that makes his susceptible to being a Receiver of Memory.

Jonas is different from other eleven year old boys in the community.  For one thing, he has the Capacity to See Beyond.  He does not know this until the Ceremony of Twelve, when he is selected as Receiver of Memory.

[The] current Receiver has told us that Jonas already has this quality. He calls it the Capacity to See Beyond." (ch 8, p. 63)

Jonas is thoughtful.  Unlike others in his community, he does not just accept the way things are.  He is able to wonder and question.  This is important when he is faced with training as the Receiver of Memory, and learns that his community is not the perfect place he thought it was.

Jonas is careful about most things. Like other children, he has been taught to be careful with language so as never to lie or unintentionally offend someone.  Jonas is “careful about language” (ch 1, p. 3).

Jonas feels uncomfortable because he has pale eyes, and there are few children in his community that do.  He does not realize that this is a genetic connection that allows him the Capacity to See Beyond until he experiences an apple changing color.  He later learns that this means he has the ability to see color.


Lowry, Lois (1993-04-26). The Giver (Newbery Medal Book). Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. Kindle Edition.

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