The Giver (The Giver, #1) The Giver discussion


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What if Jonas had never been selected?

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message 1: by Words (last edited Aug 25, 2016 02:04PM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Words I just finished reading The Giver a few days ago, and I've been turning it over in my head for a bit. One of the things I wondered about was what Jonas's life in the community would have been like if he'd never been the Receiver.

I don't know if Jonas would have been satisfied with his life in the community for very long - he didn't have a particular vocation that he enjoyed, as his peers did. And his ability to "see beyond" would probably have isolated him in a community that valued sameness. Which also makes me wonder - if the community recognized Jonas's difference, would they have felt compelled to release him? After all, there can only be one Receiver at a time (in the book, his teacher became the Giver).

On the other hand, Jonas's rebellion against his community came because he gained knowledge that allowed him to judge using a different perspective of things. There were also the pills he and everyone else took that appeared to regulate strong emotions. So maybe, without being given new knowledge, and with the help of the pills, he would have led a (relatively) content life. Any thoughts?


Jonathon then the baby would be in "elsewhere", he would be dead.


Helen I think Jonas would have been dissatisfied with his life if he had not been chosen as the Receiver. The Receiver was what he was meant to be. And, he would not have not been chosen because everyone is assigned their perfect job:)


Krauser108 Jonas would probable turn out to be a famous rockstar in group called the Jonas Brothers.


Jonathon how old r u krauser?


Emily Rule I think that he would have turned out like everyone else. Like you said, the people took the pills to regulate their emotions and without the knowlege he received from the giver, I don't think Jonas would have chosen to stop taking them. With the help of the pills and the lack of knowledge of the outside world, I think that he would have ignorned his "seeing beyond," maybe even hide it for fear that it was an illness or grounds to be released. All in all, I think that if he were not chosen he would have ended up a drone like the rest of that society.


Jonathon to my knowlage, and cut me slack if i'm wrong i read da book 2 years ago,they never took pills


Malia i think that the first few years he might have trouble ignoring the'seeing beyond' and mabye he would tell someone who might then report it and then jonas would be released. unless mabye the giver helped him....


Jonathon yeah i agree malia


Ruby Rosa Ingamells Mendiblez If Jonas wasn't selected, well he was meant for the job and was capable of "seeing beyond", so he would probably just develop all the colors and not know what they were and live like that.


Jonathon well now dat u mention it, i guess the world would be totally diffrent, scince was destined to be the reciver.


Sella Malin If Jonas hadn't been chosen, then there would have been on book. The book was about the fact that there is more life than not choosing, and how Jonas rebelled against that. If he had never became the receiver, he would not have known and lived a quiet, normal life like everyone else did.


message 13: by Brigid ✩ (new)

Brigid ✩ if jonas had not been selected, then his life would just be boring and he would basically be a zombie, like everyone else in the Community. And he wouldn't have been able to release the Memories and possibly save the Community at the end.


message 14: by Brigid ✩ (last edited Mar 09, 2008 06:59PM) (new)

Brigid ✩ haha. that's funny--the thing about the jonas brothers, i mean


jOsEpHiNe If Jonas wasn't chosen as the receiver, then it would depend on who would be. I believe that the story wouldn't be the same without Jonas as the receiver though. Because of what his father did, and Gabriel and such. So really, the selection was the essential point which the story revolves around.

Although, if you REALLY want to know, write a fan fiction or ask someone else to.


Words Well, my question was more to see what others imagined life might be like for someone like Jonas living in that sort of society. Of course if Jonas hadn't been the Receiver, then the story would have been entirely different. But let's just say there was someone very similar to Jonas who lived in the community. What would their life in the community have been like if they could do something that no one else could...like see colors or hear music?

Being different or special seemed to be a bad thing in Jonas' community where everything was standardized. In his world, you were expected to reach certain milestones by a certain age. Jonas's adopted baby brother was about to be released because he hadn't learned to sleep on his own by a certain time. So maybe the simple answer is that, in the society Jonas lived in, if they see that you're different, then you have to be released.

It's not something there's a correct answer to of course, because it's all up to everyone's speculation or personal opinion. It's like what Josephine alludes to...everyone can write some fan fiction that contains a different story. ;)


Kristen Well, my guess is Jonas would get along with life as everyone else did, being clueless about the outside world, colors, love, emotion...etc. Jonas' adopted brother would be 'released' and Jonas wouldn't know what was happening.

Though, there is the idea there that Jonas would become disatisfied with his life, knowing that there was something, somewhere that he was missing.

I don't know... Its a pretty hard subject to just settle on on opinion.


Kathryn I have to disagree with this comment, because Jonas would never have known any differently. He was satisfied as far as we can tell with his life before he met the Giver. He did not know any differently, and so would have probably continued to follow the rest of the community as that was the norm.


message 19: by Mike (new) - rated it 5 stars

Mike I agree with Kathryn. I think Jonas would have been assigned to a normal job and had been completely satisfied with the life he was given. He would have eventually been assigned a spouse and would have probably applied for children, and eventually be released in his old age.

Life would go on as normal in the community, unless a new Receiver was selected whom had the same misgivings about their way of life that Jonas had.


Janna I think that if he wasn't "selected", he would have just led a "normal" life and been given an ordinary occupation, similar to the others. I don't think he would've been dissatisfied with his life, because he would not have known that there would've been anything better out there. He would've been content with his life, if not happy, and would never had known differently, like Kathryn and Mike said.


Janna Haha, go back to watching Hannah Montana, Krauser :)


Laura I have to go with Wordsforwater on this one. Jonas IS different. He sees color for one thing. So I don't think he would have had the same, "normal" life as everyone even if he hadn't been chosen as receiver. He would have been different, and as alluded too, he would have had to keep that difference a secret or risk release.


Kathryn Sorry Laura, but I'm going to have to disagree with you for one second. The thing is that while he noticed that something was strange with the apple, and the crowd for example, he didn't know that that was color or "seeing beyond" until he met the Giver. So had he not recieved that job he wouldn't even know what that was. Also, the whole thing with pale eyes. The Giver, Jonas, Rosemary, and now Gabe all have the pale eyes, and some sort of ability such as seeing beyond or hearing beyond, so Jonas is not the only one with this gift. My guess is that if he hand't been selected for the job and given the wrods to realize that its special he probably would have had the problem medicated, thats what they do for everything else it seems. :) :)


message 24: by Kate (new) - rated it 5 stars

Kate I suggest, if you haven't already, reading _Gathering Blue_ and _The Messenger_, also by Lowry, and though not sequels, companion novels about other alternate realities. It is interesting to see how people who are different are treated, whether condemned or placed in positions of great importance. Society often labels and categorizes people, but unless one is known individually and not by his/her label or category, one is not truly known. As for Jonas, he was different and his society put him into the calling they felt best. He, however, didn't want to continue the tradition, hiding the knowledge of what was lost in order to have a "perfect" community. It is a great commentary on society as a whole, how we all want peace, but must continue to accept that peace comes with a price.


message 25: by Matt (new) - rated it 2 stars

Matt The question can't really be answered from the text, and to the extent that it can any answer you give is equally valid. We are told that most people are content, but we are given no reason to think that anyone ought to be satisfied with their. We have a culture that prized precision of language, and yet lies to itself continually and isn't very precise when using words like 'release'. This makes no sense. We have a culture that we are told highly values life, and yet at the same time it can kill without any feeling or remorse. This also makes no sense. We have a culture that can't imagine war, and yet not only plays war games but apparantly trains fighter pilots and has anti-aircraft defence. This makes no sense. We aren't given any solutions to the problem. We can imagine solutions, but they aren't really presented and much of what we would imagine would if not outright contridict the society as Jonas experiences then would at least change it immensely from what we are given.

There just isn't much point trying to answer the question. If we can imagine that Jonas's father is somehow content with society, then we can imagine that Jonas would be somehow content. I can't really imagine that Jonas's father is content, but then I can't really imagine that Jonas's father is real. Jonas's father is presented in much of the book as a man of very deep compassion who is risking himself, his position, and we must suspect even his own life for the sake of Gabriel. This is a man who breaks the Community's rules for Gabriel's sake; he argues in front of the commitee on Gabriel's behalf; he discomforts himself and his family for a whole year on Gabriel's behalf, and yet we are also to believe he feels no depth of compassion? We are to believe that he discards Gabriel and does nothing even to beg for the release from pain? How can you feel something and also feel nothing? It makes no sense at all.

So, if we can believe that Jonas can feel nothing and also feel something, then we can believe whatever we want and nothing really presents a boundary to what we want to imagine.


message 26: by Words (last edited Jan 08, 2009 10:49PM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Words There definitely is no correct answer to this - but the question wasn't put out there in order to find one. Any answer is valid because the society described in The Giver is not precisely defined. The question was somewhat whimsical, but it was also based off of a curiosity to know how others interpreted the sort of community Jonas lived in. In this sense, I agree with Matt.

In actuality, the author doesn't really describe the community at all. For example, what year is it? We could assume that it's set sometime in the far future because the community laws are so foreign and beyond any type of society we know about today. But we can't be sure because it's never revealed to us. We know that Jonas' world has at least some 21st century-like technology. They still have scientists who develop drugs and do research into some form of gene modification or breeding. We know they still have some types of air and ground transportation. In addition, we know that there are communities other than Jonas's, and that those communities live by different rules (I'm referring to the time Jonas became upset because a kid from another community, with other rules of behavior, cut in front of him). But we don't know why these communities exist, or why they were formed in the first place. We don't even know where, in the world, these communities are located.

As readers we could speculate that some apocalyptic event caused a huge change in social structure around the world. But it'd be just as valid to believe that some organization with questionable ethics and unlimited resources was conducting a grand social experiment somewhere in Canada. The world could be at war, or it could be at peace. We simply don't know because the author never describes the world.

Part of this is because we're seeing everything through Jonas's eyes. And since there are many things he takes for granted, we don't know that his world is different from ours until some accident reveals it. We wouldn't know, until the Giver explains it to Jonas, that no one in his community sees color. All along, until this point, we've taken it for granted that the people see the physical world the same way we the reader do - in color. So, many times, we're allowed to assume things about his world until something in the book tells us differently.

But to bring the point back again, there is no correct answer to this discussion. I wanted to see what people make of Jonas's world because there were so many questions I had about it myself. Is the community flexible enough to allow someone as special as Jonas to continue living in it? To badly paraphrase what Matt said, everyone is free to come up with a different interpretation - because the very lack of information in the book allows us to use our imaginations to fill in the holes.


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