The Giver Essay

Submitted By rosebudlol
Words: 714
Pages: 3

We are introduced to Jonas, the eleven-year-old protagonist of the story, as he struggles to find the right word to describe his feelings as he approaches an important milestone. He rejects “frightened” as too strong a word, recalling a time when he had really been frightened: a year ago, an unidentified aircraft flew over his community—it was a strange and unprecedented event, since Pilots were not allowed to fly over the community. As Jonas remembers the community reaction to the event, we learn more about the society in which he lives. It is extremely structured, with official orders transmitted through loudspeakers planted all around the community. As a punishment, the pilot was “released” from the community—the worst fate that can befall a citizen. Jonas decides he is apprehensive, not frightened, about the important thing that is going to happen in December. Jonas and his society value the use of precise and accurate language.

At dinner that night, Jonas’s family—his father, mother, and seven-year-old sister Lily—participate in a nightly ritual called “the telling of feelings.” Each person describes an emotion that he or she experienced during the day and discusses it with the others. Lily says she was angry at a child visiting from a nearby community who did not observe her childcare group’s play area rules. Her parents help her to understand that the boy probably felt out of place, and she becomes less angry. Jonas’s father, who is a Nurturer (he takes care of the community’s babies, or newchildren), describes his struggles with a slowly developing baby whose weakness makes it a candidate for release. The family considers taking care of the baby for a while, though they are not allowed to adopt him—every household is allowed only one male and one female child. We also learn that spouses are assigned by the government. Jonas explains his apprehensiveness about the coming Ceremony of Twelve—the time when he will be assigned a career and begin life as an adult. We learn that every December, all of the children in the community are promoted to the next age group—all four-year-old children become Fives, regardless of the time of year when they were actually born. We also learn that fifty children are born every year. The ceremonies are different for each age group. At the Ceremony of One newchildren, who have spent their first year at the Nurturing Center, are assigned to family units and given a name to use in addition to the number they were given at birth. Jonas’s father confesses to his family that he has peeked at the struggling newchild’s name—Gabriel—in the hopes that calling him a name