In The Giver by Lois Lowry, how do the people receive their assignments?
At the beginning of The Giver, Jonas is "apprehensive" about the Ceremony of Twelve that is just a couple of weeks away. Lowry keeps the gravity of this ceremony ambiguous for the first few chapters in order to create a sense of mystery and tension in the story's plot. By chapter 4 though, the process through which the Elders choose vocations for the twelve-year-olds is revealed a bit more. Between the ages of 8 and 12, children volunteer their time at different jobs to see which ones they excel at. The Elders analyze their choices and abilities during these 4 years of service to choose an adult vocation for them. After that, they become apprentices in their future careers. Jonas uses deductive reasoning about other children's activities in chapter 4 to guess what jobs will be assigned to which boy. For example, Jonas thinks about Benjamin, a groupmate who has used most of his four years working at the Rehabilitation Center. Jonas concludes:
"It was rumored that he was as skilled now as the Rehabilitation Directors themselves, and that he had even developed some machines and methods to hasten rehabilitations. There was no doubt that Benjamin would receive his Assignment to that field and would probably be permitted to bypass most of the training" (27).
In chapter 4, Jonas also notices where other children's bikes are parked for that day's volunteer work. He notices that Asher and Fiona seem to prefer to work at the House of the Old, so maybe they would become caretakers there. He, however, had spent most of his four years in many different areas of the community so he couldn't figure out what his assignment might be. Then, of course, the Ceremony of Twelve is when the find out which vocation they have been given for the rest of their lives.