What are the differences and similarities between Jonas and The Giver? 

Expert Answers
mwestwood eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The main difference between Jonas and the Giver is the fact that Jonas is the neophyte and the Giver is the wizened old man; they are similar in that they possess sensitivities that other members of the community lack.

The Giver has the weight of experience and knowledge that he must now pass to his Receiver, Jonas. Nevertheless, the older man and the boy share such qualities as heightened perceptual powers, a sense of their difference from others in their society, high levels of intelligence, sensitivity to those around them, concern for other people, and honesty. Yet, while Jonas receives the Giver's memories, he takes them into his mind in a manner different from that of the Giver; that is, he does not readily accept everything. For example, when the Giver speaks to Jonas about the choice to go to Sameness, he explains,

When we...did away with differences....[W]e gained control of many things. But we had to let go of others."
"We shouldn't have!" Jonas said fiercely.
The Giver looked startled at the certainty of Jonas's reaction. Then he smiled wryly. "You've come very quickly to that conclusion," he said. "It took me many years. Maybe your wisdom will come much more quickly than mine."

It seems that the Giver's remark about Jonas's wisdom coming to him more quickly proves true. For after he witnesses his father "release" a baby, Jonas determines that he no longer wants to belong to his society, partly because it threatens Gabriel, whom Jonas loves. Rather than accepting his role and suffering through it as the Giver has, Jonas escapes his fate.

litteacher8 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

I think that one of the reasons that Jonas has such an effect on The Giver is because they do have a lot in common.  The obvious similarities are that they both have pale eyes and the Capacity to See Beyond, or special powers.  The Giver hears music while Jonas sees color, but both are abilities associated with emotional expression.  Both of them also believe that the people in the community are perpetuating a terrible and unjust system.

The main difference between the two is age and experience.  The Giver is old, and has had a life of pain and suffering both physical and emotional.  For years, he has held the community’s memories and watched the people continue to live numb lives.  He knows that it’s wrong, but he does not take action- until Jonas spurs him on.

Jonas is as young and naïve as The Giver is old and jaded.  He refuses to accept things the way they are once he learns the truth about the dark side of the community, and he takes action.

Both The Giver and Jonas are brave, because Jonas risks death by trying to escape and The Giver knows that he will suffer when Jonas’s memories are released back to the community.

gmuss25 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

As was mentioned in the previous post, Jonas and the Giver both have pale eyes and the capacity to See Beyond. However, Jonas has the ability to see in color, while the Giver can hear music. Both characters share the same important role in their community: they hold their society's memories. This is a very stressful job, and these characters are the only two people in the community who have experienced extreme pain and anguish in their lives. Jonas and the Giver differ in age and experience. The Giver is much older and wiser than Jonas. He even had a daughter named Rosemary who chose death rather than the responsibility to bear the pain of the memories. In contrast, Jonas is naive and impulsive. Jonas struggles to understand why the community remains the same but eventually participates in the risky escape plan to save Gabe. Both characters are also courageous throughout the novel. They hold onto the painful memories, risk the well-being of their community to save Gabe, and change the way everybody lives. 

dolmayalex | Student

they are both receivers of memory

the giver is old jonas is young

they are both male