Jonas' Characterization

by: Zoe Boylan


In the first few chapters of the book Jonas is very anxious. He is anxious about what his selection will be and if it will fit his desires. Jonas is unsure of who he is and who he wants to be. He wants to help the Community to the best of his abilities, but he isn’t sure how. His nerves begin when thinking about the Ceremony of 12; he worries that they will make a bad choice or that there isn’t a job for him. He becomes more apprehensive when he begins to see things such as colors that others don’t see. At first Jonas’ differences make him feel unusual or left out, but later we see that they make him into a stronger person.

"It was almost December, and Jonas was beginning to be frightened."

"He hunched his shoulders and tried to make himself smaller in the seat. He wanted to disappear, to fade away, not to exist. He didn't dare to turn and find his parents in the crowd. He couldn't bear to see their faces darkened with shame. Jonas bowed his head and searched through his mind. What had he done wrong?"

These quotations explain how nervous Jonas is about his future. They show his fear and anxiety about being different from the rest of the society. He is afraid of not fitting in and possibly disgracing his family and friends.


Jonas’ curiousness is a trait that not many other people in his community have. Most of the citizens in the Community just follow the rules, while Jonas questions them. He wonders why things are run in such a strict manner and wants to explore living life in new ways. Jonas seeks answers to his questions and doesn’t let others stop him. The memories that the Giver has shared with Jonas have made him aware of the past and curious about the future. The memories have opened new doors of wonder that Jonas is eager to explore. His curiousness allows him to learn and help the Community in ways he never could have imagined.

"Was there someone there, waiting, who would receive the tiny released twin? Would it grow up Elsewhere, not knowing, ever, that in this community lived a being who looked exactly the same? For a moment, he felt a tiny, fluttering hope that he knew was quite foolish. He hoped that it would be Larissa, waiting. Larissa, the old woman he had bathed."

"He wondered what lay in the far distance where he had never gone. The land didn't end beyond those nearby community. Were there hills Elsewhere? Were there vast wind-torn areas like the place he had seen in memory, the place where the elephants died?"

Jonas wonders about the world outside of the Community; his memories help him to further explore the past. Jonas explores the different occupations and thinks about what life used to be like. He imagines the world without Sameness and hopes that one day everyone can live in that life.


Jonas becomes fearless in the final chapters of the book. He chooses to go against the Community’s rules and do what he feels is right. In order to fulfill his plan he must break many rules and run the risk of being released for his actions. The Giver and Jonas make a plan, but Jonas decides to change it when he finds out that Gabriel is to be released. This act takes bravery and courage. Gabe and Jonas have to face many new hardships such as starvation and restlessness. Jonas faces the challenges head on in an effort to protect them. He steps up and takes responsibility for Gabriel's life even though it breaks the rules that he has lived under for years. Jonas’ efforts to save the Community and Gabe show us his inner bravery.

"He wept because he was afraid now that he could not save Gabriel. He no longer cared about himself."

"The next morning, for the first time, Jonas did not take his pill. Something within him, something that had grown there through the memories, told him to throw the pill away."

Jonas begins to rebel against the Community's rules in small acts of civil disobedience such as not taking his pills. He wants everyone to have the opportunity to have true feelings like love. This drives him to take extraordinary acts of fearlessness to save the life of Gabriel and enrich the lives of the citizens in the Community.


At the beginning of the book Jonas is very unsure of who he his and who he will become; however at the end of the novel takes extreme measures to help those around him. Jonas’ character evolves from an anxious and apprehensive boy to a self confident and fearless man. At the beginning of the novel Jonas would have never been able to take the steps that he did to change the Community. At the end Jonas is able to leave his friends and family for the greater good; whereas he never would have been able to leave Asher at the beginning. He becomes independent and and willing to break rules that he knows are unfair. The Giver and the memories help Jonas to evolve into a independent and fearless person who changes society as he knows it.

"But there was a little shudder of nervousness when he thought about it, and what might happen."

"Having you here with me over the past year had made me realize that things must change. For years I've felt that they should, but it seemed so hopeless. Now for the first time I think there might be a way," The Giver said slowly.

"If he were caught he could be condemned."

At the beginning of the book Jonas is filled with anxiousness and fear of standing out, but he evolves into a leader. He takes acts of bravery in order to stand up for what he believes right and provoke change. His actions at the end of the book reveal his true character.