Please comment on the theme of relationships in The Giver.

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accessteacher | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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Well, if I were you, I would want to focus on the way that Jonas and his perception of the relationships that he has changes as the novel progresses, and particularly as Jonas begins his training as the next Keeper of Memories and becomes privy to knowledge that the rest of his community are protected from. This has the impact of profoundly affecting the relationships that Jonas has with his friends and with his family. Consider, for example, how Jonas feels in Chapter Seventeen on the unscheduled day off, where he plays a game with Asher and other friends, only to feel that he has to stop playing when he realises that they are actually playing a war game, that he himself has experienced the reality of:

Jonas trudged to the bench beside the Storehouse and sat down, overwhelmed with feelings of loss. His childhood, his friendships, his carefree sense of security--all of these things seemed to be slipping away. With his new, heightened feelings, he was overwhelmed by sadness at the way the others had laughed and shouted, playing at war. But he knew that they could not understand why, without the memories. He felt such love for Asher and for Fiona. But they could not feel it back, without the memories.

What is key to focus on is the way that Jonas feels profoundly separated thanks to the memories he has received, and also the way that he has been able to experience emotions that none of his friends or family ever have, such as love. This both separates him from others but also makes him realise the profound limitations of the relationships that others have in his community.