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Jonas’s father is a Nurturer. He takes care of newborns until they are given to their assigned families at the Ceremony of One.
Jonas’s family consists of his mother, father, and sister. None of them are actually related. When an adult reaches a certain age and wants to have a family, he or she is paired with a spouse of the opposite sex. Then the couple can apply for a child, and will be given either a boy or a girl about a year old. After some time, they can apply for a second child of the other gender. No couple has their own children, and no family is allowed to have more than two.
Since the babies come from Birthmothers and are raised in the Nurturing Center from birth, they need someone to take care of them. That task falls on the Nurturers. Jonas’s father is one of these.
He and the other Nurturers were responsible for all the physical and emotional needs of every newchild during its earliest life. It was a very important job, Jonas knew, but it wasn't one that interested him much. (Ch. 1, p. 7)
This is actually a very important part. Jonas’s father’s occupation foreshadows his killing the newborn twin in chapter 19, and Jonas’s reaction to taking care of newchildren foreshadows his caring for Gabe. Jonas soon changes his mind when the family is allowed to take home an extra newchild for nurturing, and Jonas takes care of the baby when he realizes that they have seeing beyond in common. He flees with Gabe after he sees his father release the twin and hears his father say Gabe will be released.
Lowry, Lois (1993-04-26). The Giver (Newbery Medal Book) (p. 7). Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. Kindle Edition.
Jonas's father is a "Nurturer," caring for infants before they are assigned to specific families. He feels special compassion for young Gabriel and takes him in, yet is willing to release him when the time is right.
For most of the time the reader is entirely sympathetic towards Jonas's father. He works as a Nurturer, looking after very young children before their naming and allocation to family units. His concern for one baby boy, Gabriel, who is not progressing well, is touching, especially when he decides to bring the child home for several weeks in order to build up his body weight. This gesture is thoroughly approved by Jonas. But total disillusion with his father sets in when Jonas discovers the truth about "release" and witnesses his father's casual, businesslike approach towards deciding the fate of a pair of twins, only one of whom is allowed to grow up in the Community.
These descriptions of Gabriel's father were found on the characters analysis page of the helpful "the Giver" enotes.com Study Guide! Check it out for great summaries of the book, summaries, and themes!
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