What worries Jonas's father in The Giver?

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dymatsuoka eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Jonas's father is worried because at the nursery, where he works as a Nurturer, there is a newchild who is not doing very well.  Jonas's father, along with the other Nurturers, are responsible "for all the physical and emotional needs of every newchild during its earliest life", and he has noticed that there is one "sweet little male with a lovely disposition...(who) isn't growing as fast as he should, and...doesn't sleep soundly".  The little boy has been receiving "supplemental nurturing", but still does not appear to be progressing as he should.  Jonas's father is concerned because the committee has begun to talk about "releasing" the child if he does not make a satisfactory adjustment soon.

"Release", which involves removing an individual from society and sending him or her to an undefined "Elsewhere", is only undertaken under three conditions - as a punishment, and with the very old or the very young.  The release of a newchild for inability to adjust always brings a sense of "what-could-we-have-done", because it is so final, and the child never gets a chance at life in the community. 

Jonas's father wants to do everything he can to prevent this newchild from being released.  He has asked the committee for special permission to bring the baby home at night so that he can provide him with the little "something extra" that he appears to need, in hopes that the special attention will help him adjust satisfactorily so he won't have to be released (Chapter 1).

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The Giver

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