What are some examples of Jonas's father in The Giver doing something that was valued in pre-Sameness societies?
Jonas’s father exhibits compassion, a rare trait in the community but one prized by us.
Jonas’s father is unique in the community because he actually cares about others. This is not common for them because they believe in Sameness. This means that emotions of any kind are a rarity for these people. Their society has carefully designed the rules so that no one ever thinks too much about anything or anyone else. This way, no one will ever be uncomfortable.
An example of Jonas’s father’s compassion is his treatment of Gabriel. Most people in the community do not consider releasing babies unusual. It is disappointing, but a fact of life. If a baby does not meet the growth targets, he or she is released. That’s just the way it is. Jonas’s father, who is a nurturer, gets attached to a young male Newchild named Gabriel and decides to intervene before he can be released. This is just not done, normally.
But I did go in this afternoon and looked to see if this year's Naming list had been made yet. … I looked up number Thirty-six--that's the little guy I've been concerned about--because it occurred to me that it might enhance his nurturing if I could call him by a name. (Ch. 2)
First, Jonas’s father breaks a rule and looks up Gabriel’s name because even though all babies are just called by numbers, he thinks that the baby will grow better if he has a name (which he can only use when no one else is around). He also goes even further, and arranges a special extension for Gabriel.
He had been given an unusual and special reprieve from the committee, and granted an additional year of nurturing before his Naming and Placement. Father had gone before the committee with a plea on behalf of Gabriel … (Ch. 6)
Jonas’s father cares enough about the baby, and has grown attached to it enough, to save its life. Normally he would be labeled “Inadequate” and released. Jonas’s father has done two unusual things—checking the name list, and asking for an extension. It shows that he has a unique ability to relate to and care for others.
Eventually, even Jonas’s father’s compassion has its limits. Jonas, with the benefit of the memories, understands the way life and death works, and appreciates love. Jonas’s father has grown up in the community, where Sameness stifles emotions. Eventually he votes to release Gabriel along with the others. He also seems to have no qualms about killing the smaller newborn twin. Jonas and The Giver alone understand why that is wrong.