The Giver Questions and Answers
by Lois Lowry

The Giver book cover
Start Your Free Trial

What is the assignment/job given to Jonas in The Giver?  

Expert Answers info

mwestwood eNotes educator | Certified Educator

calendarEducator since 2006

write16,150 answers

starTop subjects are Literature, History, and Social Sciences

Unlike the others at the ceremony who are assigned various life positions, Jonas has been selected to be the next Receiver of Memory.

In Chapter 8, the Chief Elder explains that selecting the Receiver of Memory is a profoundly difficult task because the Receiver cannot be observed or have his behavior modified when necessary. She adds,

"He is to be alone, apart, while he is prepared by the current Receiver for the job which is the most honored in our community."

Further, Jonas learns that he has been identified as a Receiver some time ago, so he has been very closely watched, and none of the Elders have had what is recognized as a dream of uncertainty. In fact, Jonas has demonstrated the qualities and personality traits that are requisite for the Receiver:

  1. Intelligence - Jonas has been a student at the top of his class every year.
  2. Integrity - Although he has committed "transgressions," Jonas has always come forward "promptly for chastisement."
  3. Courage -  The Elders feel certain that Jonas will be brave enough to endure real pain.
  4. Wisdom - This is an attribute that will be attained through training.
  5. Capacity to See Beyond - This is a quality recognized in Jonas by the current Receiver. An early example of this ability is the time Jonas was tossing an apple and he saw the color red. Coincidentally--or, perhaps, significantly--the old Receiver has light eyes like those of Jonas.

When the crowd begins to chant his name, Jonas feels both pride and fear because he does not know what the future will hold for him.

Further Reading:

check Approved by eNotes Editorial