What is Jonas's first lie? How does he feel afterwards?

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tinicraw eNotes educator| Certified Educator

  Jonas has a few opportunities to lie after he receives permission to do so. First, in chapter 12, his mother asks if he slept soundly after his first meeting with the Giver. "Jonas simply smiled and nodded, not ready to lie, not willing to tell the truth" (88). Because Jonas dreamed of the memory he received the day before, he couldn't tell his mother about it. She wouldn't understand and he isn't supposed to talk about his training.

Next, in chapter 14, Jonas experiences what it is like to have a broken leg. At home that night, his father asks him what is wrong and if he wants medication; but, Jonas simply denies anything is wrong and dodges the issue. This isn't lying, yet, but he's building his skills for when he does lie. Another deceptive thing that Jonas does is when he accidentally gives Gabe, the baby, a memory to calm him in the middle of the night.

"He wondered, though, if he should confess to The Giver that he had given a memory away. . . He decided not to tell" (117).

At this point, Jonas has developed a pattern for deceit and he is now ready to lie. After receiving the memory about Christmas and grandparents, Jonas asks his parents if they love him. His mother freaks out about precision of language and they explain that they enjoy him, but love is an archaic word and not used anymore. They ask him if he understands that it is inappropriate to use the word love in their community and Jonas lies and says he understands. "It was his first lie to his parents" (127).

Jonas does not like his parents' answer, so he acts out against the community for it by not taking his pill the next morning. The text does not directly state that Jonas didn't like his parents' answer, but it can be inferred by his abrupt disobedience to one of the community's major rules the next morning. The more memories Jonas receives, the more he learns about what he doesn't have in his life. If Jonas can't have love in his life, for example, then he will contradict the community in the only way he knows how--stop taking the pill to see what else might happen. He is starting to realize that he doesn't want to be controlled by people who don't love him and who probably lie to him.