The Giver - Personality of Jonas


Why would anyone want to live in a perfect world? Many people may think that it would be quite boring, and others maybe find a sense of security knowing that they don’t have to face competition for anything, face any difficulties, or even make any choices for themselves. If you were to live in a world without any colours, smells, and no feelings you may think that it was boring, but it is also a very safe environment. You wouldn’t suffer any more scratches, bruises, or tears. Also it is a very hard environment to hospitalise love, happiness, anger, jealousy, depression or any of the other natural human characteristics that you feel everyday. Now imagine if you went from grey to colour; the difference would be like a beam of sunlight in the middle of the night. It would be a complete change from your current life. How would you react? Now that you can feel, what would you feel? However one of the more important questions is who would you share it with? These are some of the many problems that face Jonas with his selection as receiver.


Jonas is a male adolescent who is nearing the age of twelve. Twelve is the age at which he will be selected by the elders and by the giver as to what his assignment (job) will be within the community. As you could imagine Jonas is very apprehensive about what kind of job he will receive. He has no indications of what type of job he will be receiving for the rest of his life in the community, or until the point that he is released, he has to wait until the ceremony of twelve. However Jonas’ parents have been through the ceremony of twelve and they assure him that the committee takes the work of assigning jobs very seriously. They tell him that the committee studies each individual very carefully and hardly ever make a wrong choice for the placement.


The position of receiver is one of great responsibility. It is the position of greatest honour within the community. The receiver is permitted to see in colour, smell the changes from one thing to the next; however one of the greatest things that the receiver has to deal with is the new emotion that he is able to feel. The way that these feelings are accepted or rejected will affect his path in life and that of the community.


Jonas is a very new person in the sense that he has just learned that many things before were not as he perceived them and that there are many ways to express his feelings called emotions. He learns to feel pain, sorrow, love, yearning, and hatred among others; many of these he had not been able to feel before or even had an idea that they existed. This is a big change for Jonas as you could imagine that it would be for anybody. In a time when many youngsters are unsure about the changes in themselves, learning to see the world differently as the progress through their adolescence, as they make their transition from children to adults, the position of receiver is a large stress to the load already upon them. However Jonas appears to be a strong child and has a good sense of the world around him and this makes him a good candidate for the appointment of receiver.


Jonas has great respect for his family and he shows this when he takes Gabriel into his room so that his parents could sleep more. Jonas takes great pride in trying to keep the child that his parents have temporally adopted to give him more time to mature before being assigned to another family. Jonas was trying to calm the baby one night when he accidentally transferred a soothing memory to the child. The memory calmed the baby and Jonas found that it made the baby calm every night when he would transfer another pleasant memory. This shows Jonas starting to think for himself, which is good for him because it will make him grow as an individual and it will also encourage him to think for himself in other, maybe