The Giver

why didnt the game of good guys and bad guys that jonas's friends play seem harmless to jonas anymore? chapter 17


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When he looks for Asher at the play area, he sees Tanya, an Eleven, being play-ambushed in a game by Asher. For the first time, Jonas recognizes this not only as a game of good guys and bad guys but also as a game of war. He watches the children attacking and pretending to fall on the ground, but when Asher pretends to hit him, he remembers the boy who lay dying on the field of battle, and he remains standing, trying not to cry.

Jonas understands that they do not understand that their imitation war game is cruel and representative of terrible suffering, but their inability to understand further isolates and frustrates him. The incident shows how their innocence of war makes playing at war possible, and it also highlights the lack of understanding that Asher and Fiona have about certain aspects of life as it used to be.