The Giver


Chapters 1 and 2

Summary: Chapters One and Two

These chapters introduce the audience to Jonas, who is the eleven-year-old protagonist of the story. Jonas has a keen understanding of language. He tries to pin down the right word for what he is experiencing at that very moment; he considers “frightened,” but then he remembers a time when he was actually frightened, which was much worse than the present moment. Jonas felt frightened when an aircraft flew across his home. This event frightened Jonas so much because his rather structured community does not permit pilots to fly over the town. The residents of the community hear orders through loudspeakers that are placed at different spots around town. We learn that after flying the aircraft, the pilot was “Released,” which to the residents is the worst possible fate. Instead of frightened, Jonas concludes that he is apprehensive about an approaching milestone that will occur in December. The audience of the book learns that everyone in the society considers precise language a valuable attribute.

Jonas eats dinner with his family. His family is comprised of his mother, his father, and a seven-year-old sister named Lily. At dinner, they take part in a ritual known as “the telling of feelings.” Each participant relays an emotion that he or she felt during the day. Lily begins by saying that she experienced anger at a child who visited her playgroup. Her parents explain that the child may have felt isolated, and this assuages Lily’s anger. Lily and Jonas’ father describes a baby who is not developing properly and may be Released. Jonas’ father is the town Nurturer, which means that he cares for the babies born into the community. Jonas’ family considers adopting the baby, but they cannot; each home is only allowed one male child and one female child. This conversation also reveals that the government assigns spouses.

Jonas reveals that he is apprehensive about the Ceremony of Twelve. The Ceremony will take place in December, and he will be assigned a career and...

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