What struggles does Jonas face in The Giver?

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In The Giver, Jonas 's primary struggle is the responsibility the community places on him by making him Receiver of Memory, an extraordinary burden for a 12-year old. He is placed in this position for a couple of reasons, but primarily because he's thoughtful, sensitive and intelligent and has...

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In The Giver, Jonas's primary struggle is the responsibility the community places on him by making him Receiver of Memory, an extraordinary burden for a 12-year old. He is placed in this position for a couple of reasons, but primarily because he's thoughtful, sensitive and intelligent and has powers of perception that neither he nor anyone else understands, except for maybe the Giver. In that way, these positive qualities become yet another weight around his neck, forcing him to undertake the journey with the help of the Giver.

At its heart, The Giver is an example of the hero's quest best explained in Joseph Campbell's The Hero With A Thousand Faces. Star Wars is a quest, as is Avengers: Endgame. Almost all quest narratives have common features, among them a call to adventure, an inexperienced or otherwise reluctant hero, a journey beset with difficulty, mentors or helpers to aid in the mission, a time of great danger forcing the hero to make a significant sacrifice, and a completion of the quest that changes the hero in ways that are sometimes horrifying, but usually strengthens them to face future challenges.

All of these elements are present as Jonas does what he can to restore the memories of the community. He must face incredibly frightening struggles along the way, including having to hide from the community the training he undergoes with the Giver and having to carry the bad memories he receives from the Giver.

Jonas' most significant trial is the journey itself, having to leave the community with Gabriel to actually make it to the memory forcefield and restore the memories to the people. He is helped by his mentor, the Giver, Gabriel, and his friend Asher, but the ultimate responsibility rests with Jonas alone.

At the end, we never actually see Jonas return to the community. We do not know if he ever does, but if not, this represents another massive challenge for a 12-year-old. He has returned the memories to the people, but can he ever go back to the community after being so thoroughly changed by the quest? Will he have saved a group of people that he can never be a part of?

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