The Giver Questions and Answers
by Lois Lowry

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How are the assignments picked for each person in The Giver?

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Unlike in our world, children in the community do not get to choose their own jobs.  The assignments are selected for them by a committee.

Everyone has a job in the community, as with our world.  However, children begin preparing for these jobs at twelve years old.  They are carefully observed, especially for the year that they are eleven, by a committee.

During the past year he had been aware of the increasing level of observation. In school, at recreation time, and during volunteer hours, he had noticed the Elders watching him and the other Elevens. (ch 2, pp. 15).

The Elders track volunteer hours, behavior, interests, aptitudes, and just about everything else about the Elevens.  They want to carefully select an assignment for each one.

He had seen them taking notes. He knew, too, that the Elders were meeting for long hours with all of the instructors that he and the other Elevens had had during their years of school. (ch 2, pp. 16).

Children are not able to change their jobs.  The Elders seem to choose well, because while there is an element of suspense most children seem satisfied and pleased with their assignments.


Lowry, Lois (1993-04-26). The Giver (Newbery Medal Book) (pp. 15-16). Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. Kindle Edition.


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ltiffany eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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Jonas's parents tell him that the Committee of Elders, the leaders in the community, have been observing him and the other eleven-year-old children the entire year.  The are observed at school, while they are playing, and during volunteer work.  They look at the children's skills and abilities, as well as their personal preferences and interests.

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