How does Jonas demonstrate courage in "The Giver"?

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Jonas is courageous for receiving and experiencing extremely painful and traumatic memories from the Giver during their sessions. Unlike the other citizens, who live completely comfortable, safe lives, Jonas has to accept numerous difficult memories of the past before Sameness in order to fulfill his duties as the community's Receiver of Memory. Some of the memories are extremely painful and illustrate the worst aspects of humanity. For example, Jonas experiences what it is like to be severely injured on a battlefield and witnesses firsthand the horrors of war. Jonas also has to endure the excruciating experiences without taking medication to alleviate his pain. In addition to receiving difficult memories, Jonas also courageously decides to escape to Elsewhere in order to save Gabriel and positively change the community for the better. Unaware of what awaits him in Elsewhere, Jonas demonstrates his courage by making the difficult journey, and he finally finds respite in a pleasant, secluded village.

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Throughout The Giver, Jonas displays a number of positive character traits, only one of which is courage. One example of his courage is when he agrees to experience a number of bad memories that leave him experiencing nausea and considerable pain. It is necessary for Jonas to experience pain, because it will bring him and his community wisdom. Moreover, it is only through experiencing pain that anyone can have any deep or meaningful appreciation of life's pleasures. As a Receiver, Jonas has been placed in a position of enormous responsibility. In taking on the burden of such painful memories, he is protecting his family and his community from being overwhelmed with pain and suffering. Jonas must take the pain; the stability of the whole community depends upon it. This requires enormous courage.

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Where does Jonas show courage and integrity?

Jonas shows courage in a lot of ways in this book. For example:

  • He shows courage when he starts to learn about pain in the memories he is given.  He has to keep going back for more even when some of them (like the war) are very painful.
  • He shows it even more when he decides to take Gabe and leave the community.  He surely knows that he will die if he is caught, but he does it anyway.

To me, this is also his biggest show of integrity.  He believes that what his society is doing is not right.  So he decides that he is not going to just allow it to keep happening, even though that would be the easiest thing to do.  I think this shows integrity.

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