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The Color Red

Symbolism, Imagery, Allegory

Roxanne, You Have To Put On The Red Light.

Okay: pop quiz. What do you think of when you think of the color red?

Fire? Passion? Love? Roses? Danger? Excitement?


Red is a pretty intense color. Possibly the intense color. So when Jonas starts seeing the color red, he's not just seeing the color red. He's seeing passion, fire, and love. It's pretty fitting that his first red sighting is an apple—the same fruit that gets Eve in trouble in the Garden Of Eden gets Jonas in trouble in his community:

Everyone had known, he remembered with humiliation, that the announcement ATTENTION. THIS IS A REMINDER TO MALE ELEVENS THAT OBJECTS ARE NOT TO BE ROMOVED FROM THE RECREATION AREA AND THAT SNACKS ARE TO BE EATEN, NOT HOARDED had been specifically directed at him, the day last month that he had taken an apple home. No one had mentioned it, not even his parents, because the public announcement had been sufficient to produce the appropriate remorse. He had, of course, disposed of the apple and made his apology to the Recreation Director the next morning, before school. (3.20)

It's also fitting that Fiona—the girl Jonas thinks is crazy hot—has red hair.

It's also fitting that at the peak of the novel's emotional intensity—when Jonas is trying to survive and clinging onto desperately to his last bit of hope and courage—we get the color red again, this time in the sled he finds at the top of the snow-covered hill.

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