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I liked Jonas from the start. He's smart, well-spoken, and he thinks before he speaks. Even when experiencing something out of the ordinary, he takes the time to attempt to process those experiences on his own.... he's a watcher.... and a listener. These traits make him unlike most other boys his age.
Gradesaver characterizes Jonas in the following way....
The novel's protagonist, he is an intelligent and courageous boy with the Capacity to See Beyond. He learns that instead of receiving an assignment, he has been selected to become the next Receiver of Memory for the community, which entails holding society's memories and providing guidance to the Elders. He is thus to become something like a prophet, which suggests that Lowry has named him after the Biblical prophet Jonah. As the acquisition of society's memories gives him wisdom and a new appreciation for individual differences and human emotions, he gradually becomes disillusioned with his society and is eventually faced with the choice either to continue being The Receiver or to take action to place his community on a new path.