The Giver

The protagonist of the novel, Jonas is thoughtful, intelligent, sensitive, and compassionate. He feels confused by some of the rules of the community, although he obeys them, and longs for human touch even before he understands it. Set apart from his friends by his pale eyes and his ability to see color, he is selected to be the next Receiver when he turns 12. When he discovers beauty, pain, love and death under the tutelage of The Giver, he becomes frustrated with the community's ignorance and convinces The Giver to help him change it. In order to become truly wise, Jonas must learn completely selfless love for Gabriel and his community and be willing to sacrifice his own life for the sake of another's.

Jonas Quotes in The Giver

The The Giver quotes below are all either spoken by Jonas or refer to Jonas. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
The Individual vs. Society Theme Icon
). Note: all page numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the Houghton Mifflin edition of The Giver published in 2012.
Chapter 3 Quotes
The apple had changed. Just for an instant. It had changed in mid-air.
Related Characters: Jonas
Page Number: 30
Explanation and Analysis:

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Chapter 11 Quotes
I have a great honor. So will you. But you will find that that is not the same as power.
Related Characters: The Giver (speaker), Jonas
Page Number: 106
Explanation and Analysis:

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Chapter 13 Quotes
[Jonas] watched them hack the tusks from a motionless elephant on the ground and then haul them away, spattered with blood. He felt himself overwhelmed with a new perception of the color he knew as red.
Related Characters: Jonas
Page Number: 126
Explanation and Analysis:

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They were satisfied with their lives which had none of the vibrance his own was taking on. And he was angry at himself, that he could not change that for them.
Related Characters: Jonas
Page Number: 124
Explanation and Analysis:

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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?
Related Characters: Jonas
Related Symbols: The Snow-covered Hill
Page Number: 134
Explanation and Analysis:

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Chapter 14 Quotes
The sled hit a bump in the hill and Jonas was jarred loose and thrown violently into the air. He fell with his leg twisted under him, and could hear the crack of bone. His face scraped along jagged edges of ice… In his agony he perceived the world "fire" and felt flames licking at the torn bone and flesh.
Related Characters: Jonas
Related Symbols: The Snow-covered Hill
Page Number: 137
Explanation and Analysis:

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He was not aware of giving the memory; but suddenly he realized that it was becoming dimmer, that it was sliding through his hand into the being of the newchild.
Related Characters: Jonas
Page Number: 147
Explanation and Analysis:

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Chapter 16 Quotes
"I couldn't quite get the word for the whole feeling of it, the feeling that was so strong in the room."
"Love," The Giver told him.
Related Characters: Jonas (speaker), The Giver (speaker)
Page Number: 157
Explanation and Analysis:

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"Do you love me?"
There was an awkward silence for a moment. Then Father gave a little chuckle. "Jonas. You, of all people. Precision of language, please!"
Related Characters: Jonas (speaker), Jonas's Father (speaker)
Page Number: 159
Explanation and Analysis:

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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.
Related Characters: Jonas
Page Number: 162
Explanation and Analysis:

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Chapter 17 Quotes
He felt such love for Asher and for Fiona. But they could not feel it back, without the memories.
Related Characters: Jonas, Asher, Fiona
Page Number: 170
Explanation and Analysis:

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Chapter 19 Quotes
He killed it! My father killed it! Jonas said to himself.
Related Characters: Jonas (speaker), Jonas's Father
Page Number: 188
Explanation and Analysis:

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Chapter 20 Quotes
"Having you here with me over the past year has 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.
Related Characters: The Giver (speaker), Jonas
Page Number: 193
Explanation and Analysis:

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Chapter 21 Quotes
Though he had never seen one before, he identified it from his fading memories, for The Giver had given them to him often. It was a bird.
Related Characters: Jonas, The Giver
Page Number: 215
Explanation and Analysis:

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Chapter 22 Quotes
If he had stayed in the community, he would not be. It was as simple as that. Once he had yearned for choice. Then, when he has had a choice, he had made the wrong one: the choice to leave. And now he was starving.
Related Characters: Jonas
Page Number: 217
Explanation and Analysis:

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He wept because he was afraid now that he could not save Gabriel. He no longer cared about himself.
Related Characters: Jonas, Gabriel
Page Number: 218
Explanation and Analysis:

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Chapter 23 Quotes
For the first time, he heard something that he knew to be music. He heard people singing. Behind him, across vast distances of space and time, from the place he had left, he thought he heard music too. But perhaps it was only an echo.
Related Characters: Jonas
Related Symbols: The Snow-covered Hill
Page Number: 225
Explanation and Analysis:

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Jonas Character Timeline in The Giver

The timeline below shows where the character Jonas appears in The Giver. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 1
Freedom and Choice Theme Icon
Feeling and Emotion Theme Icon
Jonas, the novel's 11-year-old protagonist, is nervous about the upcoming Ceremony of Twelve. While struggling to... (full context)
Feeling and Emotion Theme Icon
After dinner that night, Jonas's family engages in the nightly "telling of feelings," in which each person shares a troubling... (full context)
Feeling and Emotion Theme Icon
Jonas's father is a Nurturer, which means he cares for the community's babies, or newchildren. He... (full context)
Feeling and Emotion Theme Icon
After Jonas's mother explains her worries about a criminal who came before her as a second offender... (full context)
Chapter 2
The Individual vs. Society Theme Icon
Feeling and Emotion Theme Icon
Coming of Age Theme Icon
After sharing, Jonas's parents ask to speak with Jonas alone. Jonas's father tries to calm his fears by... (full context)
The Individual vs. Society Theme Icon
Coming of Age Theme Icon
Jonas and his parents discuss the annual ceremonies. At the ceremony of One, the 50 babies... (full context)
Freedom and Choice Theme Icon
Feeling and Emotion Theme Icon
Jonas's father reveals that he has actually peeked at the name of the newchild about whom... (full context)
The Individual vs. Society Theme Icon
Freedom and Choice Theme Icon
Coming of Age Theme Icon
Jonas's father tells him that after the Ceremony of Twelve, when children get their Assignments, age... (full context)
The Individual vs. Society Theme Icon
Freedom and Choice Theme Icon
Feeling and Emotion Theme Icon
Coming of Age Theme Icon
Lily comes into the room and asks for her comfort object, a stuffed elephant. Jonas's mother tells her that once she is an Eight her comfort object will be taken... (full context)
Chapter 3
The Individual vs. Society Theme Icon
The next day Jonas's father brings home Gabriel. Although mirrors are rare so that he has only seen his... (full context)
The Individual vs. Society Theme Icon
Lily also comments on the newchild's pale eyes, and jokes that maybe Gabriel and Jonas have the same Birthmother. Lily is scolded for her joke, because in the community, it's... (full context)
The Individual vs. Society Theme Icon
Coming of Age Theme Icon
...Birthmothers never see their newchildren and, after three years and three babies, Birthmothers become Laborers. Jonas's mother comments that there is no honor in either assignment. (full context)
The Individual vs. Society Theme Icon
Jonas privately recalls when the Speaker made an announcement directed at him, though like all announcements... (full context)
Chapter 4
The Individual vs. Society Theme Icon
Freedom and Choice Theme Icon
The next day, Jonas joins Asher and their friend Fiona at the House of the Old, where they do... (full context)
The Individual vs. Society Theme Icon
Freedom and Choice Theme Icon
Feeling and Emotion Theme Icon
On that particular day, Jonas helps bathe an old woman named Larissa. He notes that only babies and the elderly... (full context)
The Individual vs. Society Theme Icon
Feeling and Emotion Theme Icon
Larissa joyously tells Jonas that her friend Roberto was released yesterday after a beautiful ceremony. She says Roberto's whole... (full context)
Chapter 5
The Individual vs. Society Theme Icon
Freedom and Choice Theme Icon
Feeling and Emotion Theme Icon
Coming of Age Theme Icon
...share their feelings at night, each morning the families in the community share their dreams. Jonas tells his family about his dream: he was in a bathing room and tried to... (full context)
The Individual vs. Society Theme Icon
Feeling and Emotion Theme Icon
Coming of Age Theme Icon
Jonas is proud that he is now such an adult that he has to take the... (full context)
Chapter 6
The Individual vs. Society Theme Icon
Freedom and Choice Theme Icon
Feeling and Emotion Theme Icon
Coming of Age Theme Icon
...first day of the two-day December ceremony, Assignments for Ones through Eights are given out. Jonas learns that because his father pleaded Gabriel's case to the Committee, Gabriel is allowed one... (full context)
The Individual vs. Society Theme Icon
Feeling and Emotion Theme Icon
...to a family whose Four, also named Caleb, had fallen into the river and drowned. Jonas remembers the Ceremony of Mourning for the drowned boy, in which everyone murmured the lost... (full context)
The Individual vs. Society Theme Icon
When a different newchild is assigned to a family and named Roberto, Jonas realizes that names are given out to replace the names of those who were recently... (full context)
The Individual vs. Society Theme Icon
Freedom and Choice Theme Icon
Feeling and Emotion Theme Icon
Coming of Age Theme Icon
...boys' hair is cut shorter so that all boys and girls have the same haircuts. Jonas knows Lily is excited not to have to wear her hair ribbons anymore, when she... (full context)
The Individual vs. Society Theme Icon
Freedom and Choice Theme Icon
During lunch, the Elevens worry about their assignments. Asher worries he'll get Sanitation, and tells Jonas that he once heard that someone in Sanitation swam the river and left to join... (full context)
The Individual vs. Society Theme Icon
Freedom and Choice Theme Icon
Coming of Age Theme Icon
Jonas also can't imagine someone feeling as if they don't fit into the community. He knows... (full context)
Chapter 7
The Individual vs. Society Theme Icon
Freedom and Choice Theme Icon
Feeling and Emotion Theme Icon
After lunch, Jonas and the other Twelves take their seats at the front of the room in the... (full context)
The Individual vs. Society Theme Icon
It is now Jonas's turn to receive an Assignment. But the Chief Elder skips Jonas and calls number 20.... (full context)
Chapter 8
The Individual vs. Society Theme Icon
Coming of Age Theme Icon
...Assignments have been given out, the Chief Elder tells the crowd that she has skipped Jonas purposely. Jonas, she says, has been selected to be the next Receiver of Memory. The... (full context)
The Individual vs. Society Theme Icon
Feeling and Emotion Theme Icon
Coming of Age Theme Icon
The Chief Elder says that Jonas has all the qualities necessary for Receiver, such as intelligence and courage, which he'll need... (full context)
Chapter 9
The Individual vs. Society Theme Icon
Feeling and Emotion Theme Icon
After leaving the Auditorium, the other Twelves talk excitedly about their new jobs. Jonas feels left out and strange. Even Asher acts differently and respectfully toward him. Jonas realizes... (full context)
Feeling and Emotion Theme Icon
Memory Theme Icon
At the evening meal, Jonas asks his parents what happened to the person selected for Receiver ten years ago. His... (full context)
The Individual vs. Society Theme Icon
Feeling and Emotion Theme Icon
Coming of Age Theme Icon
After dinner Jonas reads the file he was given at the ceremony describing his training to become Receiver.... (full context)
Chapter 10
The Individual vs. Society Theme Icon
After school the next day, Jonas reports to the Annex of the House of the Old, where a desk attendant unlocks... (full context)
The Individual vs. Society Theme Icon
Freedom and Choice Theme Icon
Coming of Age Theme Icon
Memory Theme Icon
The Receiver is old and grey, and tells Jonas that he is going to use his last strength to pass those memories onto Jonas.... (full context)
The Individual vs. Society Theme Icon
Freedom and Choice Theme Icon
The Receiver instructs Jonas to lie on his stomach. He walks over to the wall speaker, which looks like... (full context)
Chapter 11
Feeling and Emotion Theme Icon
Memory Theme Icon
The Receiver places his hands on Jonas's back and transmits the memory of sledding down a hill: Jonas does not just remember... (full context)
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Jonas wishes aloud that hills and snow and sledding still existed, and asks why the Receiver,... (full context)
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The Receiver next gives Jonas a memory of sunshine. At Jonas's request, he then gives Jonas his first memory of... (full context)
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As Jonas leaves for the day, The Receiver tells Jonas not to call him "The Receiver" any... (full context)
Chapter 12
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That night Jonas dreams he is at the top of a snow-covered hill, needing to reach whatever is... (full context)
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As Fiona rides away, Jonas notices that her hair changes the same way that the apple changed. When he arrives... (full context)
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Jonas wonders why the community would want to get rid of the color red, which is... (full context)
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The Giver explains that Fiona's hair is unlike other people's hair—just as Jonas's eyes are different from other people's eyes—because genetic scientists have still not mastered Sameness well... (full context)
Chapter 13
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Jonas soon becomes angry that color has been removed from his world. He tells The Giver... (full context)
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The next day Jonas tries to transmit color to Asher by touching his shoulder while Asher looks at some... (full context)
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One day soon after, The Giver gives Jonas a memory of an elephant killed by poachers, with its tusks cut off and red... (full context)
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One day, Jonas asks whether The Giver has a wife. The Giver says that he did, once, but... (full context)
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The Giver tells Jonas that he wishes the Committee of Elders would ask for his wisdom more often. No... (full context)
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Some afternoons, Jonas arrives for training and The Giver is hunched over in pain with a memory. On... (full context)
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One day, Jonas asks The Giver to give him one of the painful memories. By taking a painful... (full context)
Chapter 14
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The Giver gives Jonas a memory of falling from the sled, breaking his leg and scraping his face on... (full context)
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That afternoon, with his leg uninjured but still aching, Jonas goes home feeling lonely because no one else can experience the kind of pain he... (full context)
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After many more days in which The Giver transmits painful memories to him, Jonas, frustrated, asks The Giver why they have to hold all of those terrible memories. The... (full context)
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The Giver tells Jonas that people do not want memories of pain. The Receiver's job is so important and... (full context)
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Meanwhile, at Jonas's home, Gabriel is growing but is still fretful at night. Jonas's father worries that he... (full context)
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Jonas wonders where people who are released go. He hopes that release means that the little... (full context)
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Jonas, hoping he can somehow help Gabriel avoid release, asks his father if Gabriel can sleep... (full context)
Chapter 15
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The next day The Giver is in terrible pain, and he asks Jonas to take the memory he is having. He gives Jonas a memory of a war,... (full context)
Chapter 16
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The Giver is gentle with Jonas for days following the war memory. He gives Jonas wonderful memories of birthday parties, paintings... (full context)
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When Jonas asks The Giver to describe his favorite memory, The Giver tells Jonas he wants to... (full context)
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At home that evening, Jonas asks his parents if they love him. They laugh at the question and chide him... (full context)
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That night, Jonas gives Gabriel another happy memory to help him sleep and tells the sleeping newchild that... (full context)
Chapter 17
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Jonas rides his bike along the river. He knows the river must lead to Elsewhere and... (full context)
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Returning from the river, Jonas sees Asher and his friends playing a game of war. He tries to explain to... (full context)
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Fiona arrives and tries to comfort Jonas, but eventually leaves on her bicycle. Jonas sadly realizes that he loves Asher and Fiona,... (full context)
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When he gets home, Jonas takes comfort in Gabriel, who has now learned to walk and talk, and can say... (full context)
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The identical twins are scheduled to be born the next day, and Jonas's father mentions having to release one of them. Curious, Jonas asks whether his father will... (full context)
Chapter 18
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The next day, Jonas asks The Giver about release. The Giver responds that on days when his memories particularly... (full context)
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The Giver tells Jonas that her name was Rosemary, and that he loved her very much, the same way... (full context)
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Jonas wonders what would happen if he fell in the river and died accidentally. The Giver... (full context)
Chapter 19
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Jonas explains that his interest in release stems from the fact that his father is releasing... (full context)
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The Giver turns on the video screen, and he and Jonas watch as Jonas's father weighs the two babies and then places the smaller one on... (full context)
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...explains that this is why he was so sad when Rosemary was released. He tells Jonas that Rosemary actually asked to inject herself with the needle. (full context)
Chapter 20
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...now realizes that his father lied to him about what would happen to the newchild, Jonas refuses to go home. He spends the night in The Giver's room. Jonas asks The... (full context)
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Jonas demands that they do something to stop the community from living in ignorance. The Giver... (full context)
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Jonas and The Giver hatch a plan: Jonas will escape from the community, so that all... (full context)
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The Giver tells Jonas he is not able to see colors anymore because he has given them all to... (full context)
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The Giver and Jonas decide that over the next two weeks, The Giver will transmit as many memories as... (full context)
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The Giver will stay behind and help people cope with their new memories. He tells Jonas that after this work is finished, what he wants most is to be with his... (full context)
Chapter 21
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Jonas and The Giver's plan hits a snag that night: at dinner, Jonas's father tells the... (full context)
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Jonas refuses to let Gabriel be killed. When everyone is asleep, he takes some leftover food... (full context)
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Jonas rides all night, then hides with Gabriel during the day as planes fly overhead searching... (full context)
Chapter 22
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As Jonas and Gabriel continue to travel, the road they have been following narrows and gets rough.... (full context)
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Jonas wonders if by leaving he has sentenced them to starve. But he knows that if... (full context)
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...pleasant as it was in his memories. The cold, wet, and hunger make Gabriel cry. Jonas cries too, not because he is afraid he will die, but because if he dies... (full context)
Chapter 23
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One day, it snows, leaving Jonas and Gabriel cold, hungry, and exhausted. Jonas has just a few memories left from The... (full context)
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When he reaches the top of the hill, Jonas recognizes it. He also sees a sled. Jonas and Gabriel ride the sled downhill. At... (full context)