Jonas' New Found Feelings in The Giver Essay

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Helen Keller once said, “The best and most beautiful things in the world cannot be seen or even touched. They must be felt with the heart.” Similarly, in The Giver, a dystopian novel written by Lois Lowry, Jonas, a twelve year old boy lives in a “perfect” community. Through the memories Jonas receives of the past from the Giver, he learns that feelings must be felt with the heart, and that they cannot be touched or seen. Jonas’ understanding of feelings develops dramatically after he receives memories from the Giver. Throughout the novel, Jonas learns the true meaning and importance of feelings and compassion, and he evolves from being shallow boy to being compassionate and empathetic young man. Before Jonas receives memories, he…show more content…
He knew that with certainty because now he knew what anger was. Now he had, in memories had experienced injustice and cruelty, and he…” (131-132). Jonas now recognizes that feelings have no quick comfort, and that feelings do not have to be told, they were felt. He now understands what it feels like to have real emotions, like happiness, anger, sadness, and love. Jonas also showcases his compassion when he runs away from the community with Gabriel and he “wept because he was afraid now that he could not save Gabriel. He no longer cared about himself” (173). Jonas did not care if he could not survive, but he wanted Gabriel to survive. Since Gabriel’s survival depended on Jonas staying alive, Jonas persevered to keep Gabriel alive. Jonas’ newfound compassion also leads him to becoming empathetic. After learning what feelings really are and being able to feel them, Jonas starts to become empathetic, and he showcases his empathy through his pity for people he cares about and his selflessness. For example, when Jonas’ friend, Asher is playing a war game, Jonas remembers the memory that the Giver gave to him about the boy dying, and he “saw again the face of the boy who had lain dying on a field and had begged him for water” (133-134). Jonas remembers the pain that the boy went through, and he felt that the game that Asher and his friends were playing was cruel. He pities the boy, because he could feel and understand the pain that the boy felt, while
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