What are Jonas's thoughts in The Giver?      

Expert Answers
litteacher8 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Jonas is apprehensive about the Ceremony of Twelve, and then reflective about the effect of the things the community is missing.

Jonas is very careful about language.  He spends some time trying to think of exactly the right word to describe how he feels about the upcoming ceremony.   Precision of language is the key to his community.

It was almost December, and Jonas was beginning to be frightened. No. Wrong word, Jonas thought. Frightened meant that deep, sickening feeling of something terrible about to happen. (Ch. 1)

Jonas decides that he is apprehensive about the ceremony.  This is because the ceremony will determine what will happen with the rest of his life.  At the ceremony he will receive his new job, and then begin training for it immediately.  The catch is that no one knows ahead of time what job they will get, and the children are only twelve.

Jonas becomes Receiver of Memory.  This is a unique position that grants him access to all of the community’s memories.  The rest of the community has no sense of history, having only one-generation memories.  Jonas receives memories of everything that happened before the community went to Sameness.

The memories change Jonas.  He begins to think about war, love, and a society of differences and choices.  Jonas becomes very reflective, and he no longer accepts his society’s claims that it is perfect.  He has a conversation about this with The Giver.

"We gained control of many things. But we had to let go of others."

"We shouldn't have!" Jonas said fiercely.

The Giver looked startled at the certainty of Jonas's reaction. Then he smiled wryly. "You've come very quickly to that conclusion," he said. "It took me many years. Maybe your wisdom will come much more quickly than mine." (Ch. 12)

Jonas understands that people want to control everything because they think that this takes the danger out of life.  In reality they are limiting the good with the bad.  They lose war and poverty, but also love and family.  It is not a tradeoff that is worth it to Jonas.  The community’s lack of understanding of death results in the travesty of release, where people are killed for insignificant reasons.  Jonas finds that unacceptable.

Read the study guide:
The Giver

Access hundreds of thousands of answers with a free trial.

Start Free Trial
Ask a Question