In the science fiction novel, The Giver, by Lois Lowry, Jonas’s life goes from ordinary to crazy in just a few days. During the span of his life in the Community as the Receiver, he discovers color, emotion, and how everything used to be before the Community went to Sameness. As soon as Jonas became the Receiver, he realized Sameness was depriving him and everybody else of living life to the fullest, so he took action. Jonas can be considered a hero for not one, but a few reasons, including taking care of Gabriel at night, saving him from his release, and giving the memories back to the Community.
Initially, after seeing his parents’ fatigue in the mornings, Jonas suggested that he be the one to put Gabriel to sleep if he woke up. At first, when Jonas offered to take care of Gabe at night, his parents were doubtful he could put Gabe back to sleep. By giving Gabriel calming memories, he solved the family’s problems by putting Gabe to sleep quickly. Finally, his family members could get a full night of sleep, and Gabriel’s crying lessened. According to the book, “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. Gabriel became quiet” (Lowry 116). Here the author portrays that as soon as Jonas gave away the memory, Gabriel calmed down and fell asleep right away. Out of all his family members, Jonas was the only one who was able to calm Gabe down and put him to sleep as quickly as he did. For that, he was considered a hero by his family. From then on, it was decided that Gabriel would always sleep in Jonas’s room.
When Jonas first discovered that release was death, he wanted to leave the community and never return. Soon after, the Giver gave him a plan on how to escape. While telling him the plan, the Giver also mentioned that as he got further from the community, more memories would be given to the people in the community. He mentioned that Jonas would need strength and bravery throughout the journey. By taking this gruesome and painful journey, Jonas was acting like a hero and endured all the obstacles that came in his way. According to the text, “Once he had yearned for choice. Then, when he had had a choice, he had made the wrong one: the choice to leave. And now he was starving. But if he had stayed… His thoughts continued. If he had stayed, he would have starved in other ways. He would have lived a life hungry for feelings, for color, for love. And Gabriel? For Gabriel there would have been no life at all. So there had not really been a choice” (Lowry 172-173). Throughout his endeavor, Jonas starts to feel regret for leaving and wishes he never left the Community. He then realizes that it was his job to give the people of the Community the life they deserved. Another conclusion he came to was that he would have hated living there if he had stayed. His life would have been deprived of emotions, color, and love. Most of all, he would have had to live a life without Gabriel.
Jonas risked everything to save Gabriel from his release. After he took Gabriel with him, his plan fell apart. Originally, his plan was to leave the night before the Ceremony with a note for his parents and everything. By leaving unexpectedly, he left not giving the Giver time to transfer memories of courage and strength, his parents could easily conclude that he ran away, and he would have to survive, not on his own, but with another stomach to feed. According to the text, “He was newly aware that Gabriel’s safety depended entirely upon his own continued strength” (Lowry 171). Even though he wanted to feed himself, his first and only priority was keeping Gabe alive. When he gave his portion of food to Gabe, his disposition became weak and at times he would even get dehydrated. Sometimes he wondered why he was still alive and had not succumbed to the struggle of his journey yet. Upon times when he was struggling, he reminded himself that if he had stayed any longer in the Community, Gabriel would have been released. At least now, he and Gabriel were alive.
Jonas is a hero for a few reasons. By taking care of Gabriel when he woke up from his sleep, by saving Gabe from his release and giving all the memories back to the community. Before he transferred the memory of the calm sailboat to Gabriel, Jonas never realized he could transfer memories. After Jonas finds out he can transfer memories, not to his friends, but Gabriel, he uses it to keep Gabriel comfortable and help him sleep. When doing this, he is being selfless, and taking happy memories from himself and giving them to Gabe. As soon as Jonas found out that Gabriel was being released, he changed his whole plan just so Gabriel could stay alive. Later during his journey, he wishes he had followed the plan but then obtains that Gabe would be dead right now if he had followed it. During Jonas’s planning, he thinks upon the fact that he is going to be giving the people of the Community a life that people used to have, before Sameness. While he is risking his life, he knows he is being a hero by doing the right thing and giving back the memories to the people. Like a real hero, Jonas took his journey and gave back to the people of his community.