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Jonas is in good spirits in chapter 6 as the family prepares for the ceremony. He jokes with his sister and waves to his father. He also ponders Gabe’s fate and the finality of release. By lunchtime, he is feeling nervous.
Yesterday there had been merriment at lunch, a lot of teasing and energy. But today the group stood anxiously, separate from the other children. (p. 47)
The elevens are already being separated out from the children, on their way to adulthood. They share myths and rumors about assignments. When the ceremony begins, Jonas watches with attention and is relieved when others get assignments he did not want. When his number comes up, his name is not called. Instead, number twenty is called after number 18. Everyone is embarrassed and confused.
He hunched his shoulders and tried to make himself smaller in the seat. He wanted to disappear, to fade away, not to exist. He didn't dare to turn and find his parents in the crowd. He couldn't bear to see their faces darkened with shame.
Jonas bowed his head and searched through his mind. What had he done wrong? (p. 58)
Jonas wonders what he did wrong. The ceremony continues until the Chief Elder apologizes to Jonas and tells everyone that he was selected as Receiver of Memory. Up until that moment, Jonas still thought he had done something wrong. Jonas doesn’t understand what this means at first. As she’s describing his required qualities, he sees the faces in the crowd change.
"I think it's true," he told the Chief Elder and the community. "I don't understand it yet. I don't know what it is. But sometimes I see something. And maybe it's beyond." (p. 64)
Jonas is grateful and proud, but at the same time he is worried about his future.
But at the same time he was filled with fear. He did not know what his selection meant. He did not know what he was to become. (p. 64)
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