Imagine a world devoid of colour and emotion, a world without individuality. This is the kind of world that Jonas lived in, a world where no one knows their real parents, where they don’t celebrate birthdays, where they don’t truly know all of the joys of life. That was all Jonas knew; at least, until he was selected as the new Receiver. Suddenly, Jonas had so many memories, memories of the past and what it used to be like, and he started to realize that his society wasn’t all he thought it to be. In the novel The Giver by Lois Lowry, Jonas learns that those who don’t take risks will never grow, without memories knowledge is useless, and that he needs to be true to what he believes in.
Throughout the book, Jonas learns that those who don’t take risks will never grow. As Jonas got more and more memories, he realized that he had to do something drastic to change what his community took away. For example, when Jonas was about to escape, it says “And he had taken Gabriel, too.” (Lowry 166). Jonas knew that taking Gabriel was definitely a risk, but he took that risk anyway. Because Jonas took that chance, he learned the true meaning of love. If he hadn’t taken Gabriel, it would have been much easier, but by taking Gabriel Jonas learned that it’s sometimes you should take risks for people you love, and he in turn grew for that experience.
Jonas also learns that without memories, knowledge is useless. He realizes that knowing something is completely different from experiencing something. For example, when Asher is playing the war game, it says “He had never recognized it before as a game of war.” (Lowry 133). Asher and the rest of the community have the knowledge of this game, but without the memories of what war is like they have no idea of what the game truly means.
Jonas realizes that although he thought he knew many things, his knowledge was useless due to the fact that he had no memories to go with it. Once he started receiving memories, all of his knowledge made so much more sense. It’s like, for example, if someone knew everything there is to know about forks. They knew the history, types of forks, they had memorized complex diagrams, they were told about how to use the fork constantly. But, unless they had actually used a fork, that knowledge is completely useless. Anybody who had used a fork could easily say that they knew more.
Jonas also learned that he needs to stay true to himself and what he believes in. He learned that just because something is easy doesn’t mean that it’s right. For example, after Jonas left the Community, he thinks “If he had stayed, he would have been starved in other ways. He would have lived a life hungry for feelings, for color, for love.” (Lowry 173). Jonas knows that it would be much easier to stay in the Community, but he know that living a life without feelings, color, and love would be a life not worth living. He stays true to what he believes when he escapes with Gabriel, and learns that he needs to stay true to his beliefs to live a good life. If he hadn’t escaped, he would have likely lived a sad, lonely life, deprived of color and feelings. Because he left, he got to experience something.
Throughout the novel The Giver by Lois Lowry, Jonas learns many things, three of these lessons being that those who don’t take risks will never grow, without memories knowledge is useless, and to be true to his beliefs. When he escapes with Gabe he learns that sometimes he needs to take risks, when Asker is playing the war game he learns without memories knowledge is useless, and when he escaped he learned that he needs to stay true to what he believes in. He learns that a world without color, emotion, and individuality is not a world worth living in. This book provides a perfect example of how people don’t need to be the same.