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Heroes In The Giver Essay

Jonas: A Man or A Mouse? A hero is “a person, typically a man, who is admired or idealized for courage, outstanding achievements, or noble qualities,”(Google). There are many examples of heroes in literature, such as Odysseus or Harry Potter. There are, however, some characters in stories that do not fit this category as well as others. This group of people is called “antiheroes. ” An antihero is like a hero, although this person may not have the same qualities as a hero, or may display non-heroic actions. In Lois Lowry’s The Giver, the main character, a boy named Jonas, is an antihero.

Jonas does not act particularly heroic in the novel, and does not fit the definition of a true hero in his qualities. In The Giver, Jonas starts out as an ordinary young boy with no significant positive traits. In the novel, Jonas shows no out of the ordinary characteristics. There have definitely been no outstanding achievements, or noble qualities presented. All that is given based on Jonas’ “personality’is Jonas’ obsession with correct language(Lowry 3). He shows a constant weariness and concern with his word choice and the word choices of others around him, always wanting to find the perfect way to describe something.

While it is nice to have a sense of eloquence, there is no practical need for it. Another issue with this habit of his is that Jonas’ corrections could become bothersome towards others. There is also a brief and unelaborated notion of mediocre observation skills from Jonas(Lowry 24). Although this sense should be noted in the novel, it is only for plot purposes. There is no admirable quality in seeing an apple change color, as Jonas had on page 24(Lowry). All other traits Jonas later gains are due to the Giver, and are today seen as natural qualities everyone possesses such as love and morale.

Jonas himself does not have too much of a personality in the first place, and the added characteristics are insignificant or considered natural by today’s standards. One may look to Jonas’ actions to be his saving grace from his rather barren personality, however, this is not the case. Throughout The Giver, Jonas commits many deeds that are not considered heroic. These deeds start very early on in the book, and continue all of the way to it’s conclusion. In Jonas’ society, there are many rules that have been put in place to maintain a balance and a peaceful nvironment for those who live there.

Jonas shows a disregard for these rules, seemingly nonchalant about breaking some of them. For example, Jonas steals an apple from the recreation center, which is even against our laws in today’s society, and does it simply out of curiosity(Lowry 24). This is no noble action. The synonyms of the word noble include righteous, virtuous, good, and honorable(Google). There is no instances in which stealing would be put under these terms, especially for that sake of curiosity. Events like this start to occur as early as chapter 3 of The Giver, and show no signs of stopping.

Another significant act committed by Jonas is a series of rule breaking and non-honorable deeds done in one action. This feat was accomplished as the novel neared its close, when Jonas decided to run with Gabriel, a small child his dwelling had come to house, away from the community(Lowry 155). This act of running away was an act of cowardice and selfishness, as Jonas had known the cracks in his society that only himself and the Giver were aware of. Rather than choosing to stay and repair the damaged environment, Jonas ran from the problems he was presented with, and did nothing to help his community.

On page 155 Jonas even admits to himself these deeds he has done with no remorse(Lowry). In this he names three official rule breaking actions he has done, and that is not all that will be negatively affected by his disappearance. “First, he had left the dwelling at night. A major transgression. Second, he had robbed the community of food:a very serious crime, even though what he had taken was left overs, set out on the dwelling doorsteps for collection. Third, he had stolen his father’s bicycle,”(Lowry 155). In this quote, Jonas shows he is aware of the rules he has broken and the repercussions if he were to be caught.

He goes through multiple antiheroic actions and decisions. Furthermore, Jonas decides to kidnap the infant gabriel and take him along on the dangerous expedition(Lowry 155). This may very likely get one or both of them killed as Jonas tries to escape, and he risks a child’s life, just for the sake of wanting to get out of bad situations. Another point worth noting is the repercussions of Jonas running away that he was completely aware of. He and the Giver have a conversation in which they discuss what might happen.

When Jonas leaves, his memories will most likely be released out into the society(Lowry 147). in this, a normally sheltered society who sees no color and feels nothing has to suddenly cope with the knowledge of true life. Thus will bring in chaos, war, pain, and deceit. Jonas however shows no regret over what the people who raised him will have to suffer due to his choices. he even says to the Giver, ‘You and I don’t need to care about the rest of them,”(Lowry 147). These selfish notions are not one a hero would have even dared to think, much less suggest aloud.

Some people, however, would tend to disagree. After reading The Giver, some people have come to a conclusion that Jonas has all heroic qualities, and is completely supportive of the greater good over his own. A point they bring up is the importance of his sense of observation. It is a quality needed in a new receiver, which Jonas ends up being elected as. This specific trait, however, has nothing to do with be a hero. If one were to find through observations that a fruit were to change color in different perspectives, there would not be much to gain.

There is no real significance in this skill, besides showing Jonas some things he would soon learn from the Giver anyways. This skill also brings about a desire to disobey the rules, as it is his observation of the apple which motivates him to steal(Lowry | 24). Another point commonly brought up is in regards to the fact the Gabriel was taken by Jonas the night of his escape. Jonas had taken Gabriel in hopes of saving him from being released, which was a ritual in which a person would be put to death by lethal injection.

By taking Gabriel Jonas has ensured that the child will not be released, but that may not be for the best. In releasing, Gabriel would have died rather quickly and only with a small amount of pain from the needle. However, now Gabriel is outside of the community, which has been built up to protect citizens from harm of the outside world. as they leave the community, Gabriel is now susceptible to these harsh conditions. Gabriel is not doing well, which is prominent even at the start of the journey, as he is shivering, weak and hungry(Lowry 164). This suffering he goes through now is surely not as bad as release.

Gabriel will likely die of cold or of starvation due to Jonas’ reckless actions. Soon he will finally realize the truth: he had been running to escape the knowledge and memories, but now he is living in them, and he has forced an innocent infant to suffer with him. Jonas has been acting with an incorrect sense of morality throughout the entirety of The Giver, and he is usually aware that he is not doing the right thing. His actions are rarely noble, which was said to have been a hero’s trait, and his personality is not as one would think of a hero.

As the novel progressing Jonas continues to make unwise decisions, thinking of only what he wants. With the many situations lonas puts himself and others in with blatant disregard for their wellbeing or the rules, it is hard to see the heroic qualities he supposedly possesses. An antihero fits him quite well, with his unconventional versions of “heroism,” and he does nothing to prove himself worthy of a hero’s title. Jonas, or as it’s hebrew translation, “dove, or destroyer,” is apparently just as his name predicts(SheKnows Media).

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