In The Giver, why did Jonas refer to Gabe as his little brother?

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Gretchen Mussey eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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In chapter thirteen, Jonas is having a conversation with the Giver about the possibility of having opportunities to make independent choices, and he accidentally refers to Gabriel as his little brother. Gabriel is a newchild, whom Jonas's father is nurturing during the evenings to help enhance his development before he is given to a selected family during the December ceremony. Jonas has a special bond with Gabriel and even transfers peaceful memories to him when he has difficulty sleeping. Despite the fact that Gabriel is not biologically related to Jonas, Jonas views him as his younger sibling. Jonas not only enjoys being around Gabriel but also shares a deep connection with him, which is similar to sibling relationships. The fact that Gabriel has the Capacity to See Beyond is also significant and enhances their unique, brotherly bond. After Jonas discovers that Gabriel is going to be released, he acts like a protective older brother and saves Gabriel's life by escaping the community with him.

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teachersmith eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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Even though Gabe and Jonas are not biologically related, or in the same family group, Jonas feels that the bond they have created is fraternal.  As Jonas learns more about the world around him, he discovers that the society he serves is a dystopian nightmare that slaughters the old and the unfit.  Jonas is losing his innocence, but he sees that innocence reflected in Gabe, who is not yet old enough to make these discoveries himself.  If they survive in the wilderness, Jonas will be able to teach Gabe the truths he has learned.  Thus, the evils of the community they left will not sully Gabe, and he can remain the innocent being he has always been.  As adopted children can attest, biology is not the sole link to a family; teaching and raising a child can also create this bond.  The family groups that society creates are shams of real family dynamics.  Jonas has the opportunity to break through the facade and truly connect to another human being.  As such, they are brothers.

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