Why was Jonas embaressed about telling his dream in The Giver?

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In chapter five, Jonas is embarrassed and reluctant to tell his family about the dream he had the previous night. Jonas explains to his family that he had a dream about trying to convince Fiona to disrobe and get into one of the bathing tubs with him. Jonas recalls getting upset with Fiona when she refused to get into the tub with him and vividly recalls the "wanting" that he had experienced in the dream. Jonas is embarrassed by the dream for several reasons. In his highly-structured community, which is founded on the concepts of Sameness, citizens are required to wear clothing and prohibited from choosing their own partners. In Jonas's society, the Committee of Elders creates marriages and manufactures family units. Essentially, Jonas knew that his feelings of desire and arousal were against his society's policies, which is why he felt embarrassed. After Jonas discloses his dream, his parents explain to him that his "wanting" feelings are normal and require him to take a pill each day to quell the Stirrings. These pills suppress the citizens' sexual desires to ensure stability in their society.

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Jonas does not like telling his dreams because he almost never dreams, and when he has one it is a sexual dream about Fiona.

Jonas rarely dreams, but after he helps Fiona at the House of the Old, he has a vivid dream about trying to get her into a bath tub.

He paused. He knew he had to tell it all, that it was not only all right but necessary to tell all of a dream. So he forced himself to relate the part that made him uneasy. (ch 5, p. 36)

Jonas’s parents realize that this is the first of the Stirrings, or sexual feelings.  Jonas only has to take a pill, and the feelings and dreams will go away.  All community members take these pills, because the population is tightly controlled and all children are planned and artificially conceived.  It is interesting that in a society that never mentions sex, Jonas is still embarrased to discuss it.


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

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