What was the first lie that Jonas told his parents in The Giver? explain please

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litteacher8 | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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The first time Jonas lies, he tells his parents that he understand that the word “love” is imprecise and should not be used in chapter 16.

When Jonas is chosen as Receiver of Memory, he gets a list of instructions.  One of the instructions is: “You may lie.”  This shocks Jonas, because “precision of language” is so important in the community.

He had been trained since earliest childhood, since his earliest learning of language, never to lie. (p. 70)

Jonas is disturbed by the permission to lie.  Jonas has never been tempted to lie, and he begins to worry that some other members of the community might be allowed to as well.

When Jonas is asked about his dreams by his parents, he is “not ready to lie” but not able to tell the truth, so he tells a half-truth that he slept soundly.

When Jonas asks his parents if they love him, he gets a lecture on precision of language.  They tell him that love is “meaningless.”

Jonas stared at them. Meaningless? He had never before felt anything as meaningful as the memory. (p. 127)

This is when he realizes how wide the gulp has grown between himself and his parents.  He is no longer just like anyone else in the community.


Lowry, Lois (1993-04-26). The Giver (Newbery Medal Book) (p. 70). Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. Kindle Edition.


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