From the narrator's point of view, what is directly told about Jonas's character in The Giver?
Although we learn most about Jonas through indirect characterization, there are some examples of direct characterization given to us by the narrator.
Jonas is an eleven-year-old boy who is looking forward to the Ceremony of Twelve. He lives with his father, mother, and Lily, and he is the oldest child.
We know that Jonas is obedient and complies with all rules of his community as best as he can. In the beginning, Jonas recalls a time when an aircraft had flown over the community:
Then all of the citizens had been ordered to go into the nearest building and stay there, immediately, the rasping voice through the speakers had said, leave your bicycles WHERE THEY ARE.
Instantly, obediently, Jonas had dropped his bike on its side on the path behind his family’s dwelling. He had run indoors and stayed there, alone.
It is the "instantly, obediently" modifiers here that directly indicate how Jonas approaches the rules and expectations of his society.
Unlike his friend Asher, who is always in trouble for misusing vocabulary and confusing intended meanings, the narrator notes that "Jonas was careful about language." This again fits with his compliant personality.
The narrator also conveys that Jonas has no clue what job assignment the Ceremony of Twelve will bring him:
He hadn’t the slightest idea what Assignment the Elders would be selecting for his future, or how he might feel about it when the day came.
Jonas has spent time in lots of different areas doing volunteer work and can't determine one that seems especially well-suited for him. Thus, he is quite anxious about how the Elders will choose a job that won't be a disappointment.
When the Giver begins to transfer memories of pain to Jonas, we get another bit of characterization:
Jonas tried to be brave.
Jonas asks the Giver to give him some of the pain to lessen the Giver's burden. He doesn't press when denied relief-of-pain medication. He shows up day after day in his duties, bravely accepting the challenge to take all the memories for the community—even the painful ones.
After being given the memory of war, Jonas's bravery falters a bit:
Jonas did not want to go back. He didn't want the memories, didn't want the honor, didn't want the wisdom, didn't want the pain. He wanted his childhood again, his scraped knees and ball games. He sat in his dwelling alone, watching through the window, seeing children at play, citizens bicycling home from uneventful days at work, ordinary lives free of anguish because he had been selected, as others before him had, to bear their burden.
However, these fears are immediately replaced with the realization that he doesn't have a choice. The choice has been made for him.
Direct characterization is used as a supplement to Jonas's thoughts to show how Jonas is a dynamic character, changing through the experiences of memories and wanting change for his community, too.