What is the significance and importance of December to Jonas?    

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litteacher8 | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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The book The Giver opens with Jonas, the main character, trying to find the right words to describe his feelings about December.  December is an important month in the community, because it is the month of ceremonies.  All children are the same age at the same time, and in December they have a ceremony where they turn the next age.  These ceremonies are symbolic milestones of growing up.  Jonas is about to turn twelve, which is the last and most significant ceremony.  December is important to Jonas because at the Ceremony of Twelve Jonas will be given a career that he will keep throughout his life.

From a characterization standpoint, Jonas’s reactions to December tell us a lot about him.  We know that he is introspective and careful.  We also know that he does not question the way of life of his community, but he also does not fully understand it.  Jonas is at a crucial age where he is beginning to learn more about how his world works.  In December, Jonas finds out.

From a plot perspective, December is crucial to the plot of the book.  December completely changes Jonas’s life.  When he is selected as the new Receiver of Memory, he learns the awful truth about his supposedly perfect world.  This leads him to decide to leave, and free his community of sameness.  He chooses December and the ceremony day to do this.  So December is also the month where Jonas is free, or dies, depending on how you look at the ending.



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