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by Lois Lowry

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From Lois Lowry's The Giver, how does the Ceremony of Twelve start?

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The Ceremony of Twelve is the last ceremony to be held on the second day of the two-day holiday. The children who participate in this ceremony are all very excited and anxious to find out what assignments they will be given. First, all of the twelves sit in chronological order by birth in the front seats. Jonas's number is nineteen, which means that he was the nineteenth child born during his birth year. His friend Asher's number is four, and Fiona was number eighteen. When the Chief Elder comes out, he or she gives a speech about childhood and how these children have completed this part of their lives.

Then, the Chief Elder reminds everyone about how important Assignments are to their community. Everyone has a duty to contribute to the community in order for everything to run smoothly. The training that the twelves will start soon is important as well, and should be taken seriously. The Chief Elder then says something that is only significant to twelves:

"This is the time . . . when we acknowledge differences. You Elevens have spent all your years till now learning to fit in, to standardize your behavior, to curb any impulse that might set you apart from the group . . . But today we honor your differences. They have determined your futures" (63).

Finally, the Chief Elder cites specific differences between this year's group, thanks the other elders and the selection committee, and then proceeds with handing out each child's assignments. Once a child receives his or her assignment, the Chief Elder says, "Thank you for your childhood" (71). The child then receives a packet of information for their new assignment and he or she sits down until the ceremony is over.


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In Chapter 7 we see the beginning of the Ceremony of Twelve. The new twelves swap places with the new elevens, and then an initial speech is given by the Chief Elder. This speech is described as being pretty much the same each year, touching on:

recollection of the time of childhood and the period of preparation, the coming responsibilities of adult life, the profound importance of Assignment, the seriousness of training to come.

After this speech the Chief Elder goes on to say that what happens as part of this ceremony is an acknowledgement of differences. She then describes the group in general. Then the Assignments begin.

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