What did Jonas want to do about the memories and the traditional way of doing things in The Giver?

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litteacher8's profile pic

litteacher8 | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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Jonas thought and acted like everyone else before he became Receiver of Memory.  Once he began experiencing the memories, he realized that his community had a big problem.  No one felt pain, but no one felt happiness either. 

One of the first realizations that Jonas came too was that his classmates did not understand the concept of war.  Jonas gets upset with his friend Asher for playing the war game.

"You had no way of knowing this. I didn't know it myself until recently. But it's a cruel game. In the past, there have—" (ch 17, p. 134)

Asher does not understand.  This creates a distance between the boys.  Jonas is beginning to be not like the others.

When Jonas finds out what Release really means, he is horrified.  He asks to see a ceremony, and watches his father euthanize a perfectly healthy baby just because it is a twin.

He killed it! My father killed it! Jonas said to himself, stunned at what he was realizing. He continued to stare at the screen numbly. (ch 19, p. 150)

At this point, Jonas decides that he wants to return the memories to the people so they can experience love and know what pain really is.  He does not want his people to be ignorant any more.  In order to do this, he has to leave.  Jonas and The Giver make a plan to have him escape, and have The Giver help the people cope with the returned memories they have been shielded from.

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

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rosycheeks95's profile pic

rosycheeks95 | Student, Grade 11 | (Level 1) eNoter

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Jonas wanted to escape with Gabriel and the Giver so all of the memories: color, weather, and unconformity could be brought back to the people of his community. He wanted everyone else to feel the horrors and wonders of all of these memories and make them reality rather than past memories. The only way he could do that was by escaping so that the memories would be set loose and there would be no heir to bequeth the memories upon.

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