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QUOTATIONS / QUOTES (continued)
“Giver,” Jonas suggested, “you and I don’t need to care about the rest of them.”
The Giver looked at him with a questioning smile. Jonas hung his head. Of course they needed to care. It was the meaning of everything. (Page 156)
Jonas wants the Giver to leave the community with him. But, the Giver knows that he will be needed by the community when Jonas’s memories leave him and go to the community. The Giver is adamant about not leaving, about staying to help the community. Jonas, searching for something to say to talk the Giver into leaving with him, tells him that they don’t need to care about the community. But, the Giver knows better. Caring about others is a trait that they have both developed due to having the memories.
“When I was a boy, younger than you, it began to come to me. But it wasn’t the seeing-beyond for me. It was different. For me, it was hearing-beyond.” (Page 157)
The Giver is discussing his version of Jonas’s ability to see colors. For the Giver, the special ability was the ability to hear music. Others in the community cannot hear music just as they cannot see colors.
He would make the solemn announcement that Jonas had been lost in the river. He would immediately begin the Ceremony of Loss.
“Jonas, Jonas,” they would say loudly, as they had once said the name of Caleb. The Giver would lead the chant. Together they would let Jonas’s presence in their lives fade away as they said his name in unison more slowly, softer and softer, until he was disappearing from them, until he was no more than an occasional murmur and then, by the end of the long day, gone forever, not to be mentioned again. (Page 161)
This describes part of the plan developed by the Giver and Jonas. Jonas would be well on his way to Elsewhere before his absence was discovered. At the time when some explanation for his absence was needed, the Giver would make an announcement.
The chant described is the same as the chant that follows the loss of any member of the community. It is a way of minimizing the pain of loss quickly.
The Giver hugged him. “I love you, Jonas,” he said. “But I have another place to go. When my work here is finished, I want to be with my daughter.”...
For the first time in their long months together, Jonas saw him look truly happy.
“Her name is Rosemary,” The Giver said. (Page 162)
Jonas wants the Giver to go with him when he leaves the community. The Giver wants to help the community deal with the memories that will be coming back to the people there when Jonas heads toward Elsewhere. Then, after the burden of carrying the memories for the community and the responsibility of caring for the people when they need him, he wants to fulfill his true desire and be with his daughter.
But that evening, everything changed. All of it--all the things they had thought through so meticulously-- fell apart....
“It’s bye-bye to you, Gabe, in the morning,” Father had said, in his sweet sing-song voice. (Pages 163 and 165)
There is a dramatic change. Last night Jonas and the Giver spent many hours planning in detail what they would do to prepare for Jonas’s departure. But, tonight all the plans are forgotten when Jonas finds out that Gabriel is to be released in the morning.
The way that Father can actually speak to Gabriel about his release like he is telling him that they will be going on a picnic, shows how different the community is from us.
Gabriel had not cried during the long, frightening journey. Now he did. He cried because he was hungry and cold and terribly weak. Jonas cried, too, for the same reasons, and another reason as well. He wept because he was afraid now that he could not save Gabriel. He no longer cared about himself. (Page 173)
Jonas shows here how much he has changed in the last year, since he became the new Receiver for the community. The memories have given him the ability to love and to put concerns about Gabriel above concerns about himself.
“We’re almost there, Gabriel,” he whispered, feeling quite certain without knowing why. I remember this place, Gabe.” And it was true. But it was not a grasping of a thin and burdensome recollection; this was different. This was something that he could keep. It was a memory of his own. (Page 177)
The memories that the Giver gave to Jonas helped to change him, to bring him to the point where he could feel love for others and yearn for their love in return. Those memories were now fading. But, the changes that they had wrought in him made it possible for him to now have memories of his own that he could carry with him always.
Downward, downward, faster and faster. Suddenly he was aware with certainty and joy that below, ahead, they were waiting for him; and that they were waiting, too, for the baby. For the first time, he heard something that he knew to be music. He heard people singing. (Pages 178-9)
This is the second to the last paragraph in the book. For some of us this will seem to be a delusion developed in a mind now out of touch with reality. For others, it will be a happy ending. What comes next is for each of us to decide.
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. (Page 179)
As with the previous paragraph, we cannot be sure that Jonas isn’t delusional at this time. So, since this is the end of the story, we are left to decide for ourselves whether the community he and Gabriel left can now hear music.
The above quotations came from the edition of The Giver published by Dell Laurel-Leaf, an imprint of Random House Children’s Books, a division of Random House, Inc. This edition was printed September 2002.