The Giver Questions and Answers
by Lois Lowry

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In The Giver, what does Jonas wonder about when he's not with the Giver?  

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Heather Garey eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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Most of what Jonas wonders about in this novel takes place when he is with the Giver. Prior to his meetings with the Giver, he didn't wonder about anything. When he's with the Giver, he has many questions because the process of receiving memories opens up feelings and experiences he's never had, such as seeing colors. In chapter sixteen, when he returns from the Annex room after having experienced a memory of a family gathering at Christmas time, he realizes that he's never experienced the feeling of love that he felt in that memory. He begins to wonder if his parents love him the way the family in the memory expressed love to each other. He asks his parents if they love him, and they chastise him for his lack of precise language. Through the memories, Jonas realizes that the life they have, though ordered and organized, lacks true feeling and significance. He starts to think about how things could be different. He shares memories with Gabe as part of his wondering about how things could be different. He talks to Gabriel in his sleepingroom, though Gabriel is too young to understand. He says:

"Things could change, Gabe," Jonas went on, "Things could be different. I don't know how, but there must be some way for things to be different. There could be colors."

This quote shows that Jonas is becoming aware of the emptiness of the life he has. He realizes the possibility that life with love, though there'd be pain, would be better than the life he has.

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accessteacher eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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A great place for you to start in answering this question would be Chapter 16, which is where Jonas experiences Christmas and love thanks to a memory given to him by the Giver. As a result, his view on his life and the life enjoyed by his community changes significantly. After this point, he begins to dream and think about how he could act as an agent of change in this community, to try and bring things such as love back into their everyday life. Note what he says to Gabe at the end of this chapter:

Things could be different. I don't know how, but htere must be some way for things to be different. There could be colours.

And grandparents...

What comes to preoccupy the mind of Jonas more and more as he receives more memories is how he can change the world around him to bring back things that have been dispensed with in his world. Jonas, as the novel continues, comes to judge his own life and to find many faults with it. 

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