What are some quotes that Jonas says from The Giver that define who he is?

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andrewnightingale eNotes educator| Certified Educator

There are a number of things Jonas says which define him. In chapter one for example, he says the following to his friend, Asher, after he had made a mistake causing them to lose a match:

"That's it, Asher! You're released!"

This suggests that Jonas is much like any other child who would sometimes forget the rules. Using the word 'released' in an inappropriate context was sternly frowned upon and Jonas momentarily forgot himself. He was later admonished and felt guilty about what he said and apologized to Asher.

In the same chapter, Jonas states the following about the coming Ceremony of Twelve where he would be assigned:

"I'm feeling apprehensive," he confessed, glad that the appropriate descriptive word had finally come to him...

"I know there's really nothing to worry about," Jonas explained, "and that every adult has been through it. I know you have, Father, and you too, Mother. But it's the Ceremony that I'm apprehensive about. It's almost December."

What he says indicates that Jonas also is not that assured about his position and hates uncertainty. He does not absolutely know what he wants to be assigned as, unlike so many others his age who know with greater certainty what they wish to be.

The following quote, from chapter 2, shows that Jonas is a caring, concerned individual. He expresses worry about Asher:

"I worry a little about Asher's Assignment," Jonas confessed. "Asher's such fun. But he doesn't really have any serious interests. He makes a game out of everything."

He is also loyal and wishes to retain whatever close ties he has formed with others, as the following quote signifies:

"Asher and I will always be friends," he said firmly. "And there will still be school."

In chapter three we learn that Jonas has a different perception of things. He sees what others do not:

"Ash?" he had called. "Does anything seem strange to you? About the apple?"

Jonas has noticed a change in the apple, something that Ash was unaware of. Jonas soon learns that he is the only one who notices these differences and finds out, even later, that it is normal for one such as he and is one of the reasons why he would be assigned Receiver of Memory.

What Jonas says in chapter four tells us that he is inquisitive and eager to understand why things are done in a certain why and what the outcomes of such actions are. When he is at The House of the Old, he asks one of the old people he takes care of: 

"Larissa,... what happens when they make the actual release? Where exactly did Roberto go?"

Larissa, as old as she is, cannot give him an answer since she, unlike him, probably never wanted to know and unconditionally accepted whatever she was told. This also tells us that Jonas is determined to find answers and is always seeking them. This is further emphasized later in chapter six, when he speaks to Asher about those who had left the community and gone elsewhere:

"Anyway," Jonas pointed out, "have you ever once known of anyone—I mean really known for sure, Asher, not just heard a story about it—who joined another community?"

In chapter 10, we are made aware of Jonas' respectful nature when he speaks out of turn when addressing the old Receiver of Memory and says:

"I apologize for interrupting," he added quickly.

This tells us that even though Jonas is different, he has retained the values that he has been taught and can discern between those which are good and those which are not. Although he later rebels against his community by later leaving it, he has retained the good and not adopted the bad.

When Jonas learns about sunshine from The Giver in chapter 11, he concludes:

Before Sameness. Before Climate Control," Jonas added.

This indicates a keen awareness and intelligence. Jonas has the ability to think originally and arrive at conclusions, something else that makes him different. The rest of the community seem to accept what thy are taught and never think 'outside the box' - their perspective and insight is limited. The Giver observes this and comments that, 'you receive well and learn quickly.' 

From the above it should be clear that Jonas is a complex character. He displays much more of this complexity in later chapters and it is this which eventually leads him to realize that there is something wrong with their society and that he has to rescue Gabriel and escape.

Before their escape, he tells the sleeping Gabriel:

"Things could change, Gabe,... Things could be different. I don't know how, but there must be some way for things to be different. There could be colors.

litteacher8 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Quotations are an excellent way to gather details of characterization about a character for use in essays and other analysis.

Jonas is thoughtful and wise beyond his years.  One of the first indications that Jonas is not like other children is in the very beginning of the book, when Jonas is trying to describe his feelings.  The quote says:

“Jonas was careful about language.” (page 3)

This quotation directly characterizes Jonas.  Throughout the book, we see other examples of direct and indirect characterization of Jonas.  For example, when the plane flies overhead and the Speaker orders everyone inside, Jonas is described with this quotation:

“Instantly, obediently, Jonas had dropped his bike on its side on the path behind his family’s dwelling.”  (page 2)

This is another example of characterization.  Jonas is obedient.  His bicycle is very important to him.  All children his age take great care of their bicycles, because they wait so long to get them.  Bicycles are a symbol of independence and adulthood.  The fact that Jonas drops his so quickly and runs inside shows that he is instantly, unquestionably obedient.

lyssa-0-1 | Student

well you see on page 3 it says "jonas was careful about language". That shows that he has to be cautious about what he says.

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The Giver

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