In The Giver, Asher gets a job called Assistant Director of Recreation. What does that job mean?

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Asher’s assignment means that he is training to take over the department in charge of games.

Asher is Jonas’s best friend.  Before the Ceremony of Twelve, Jonas is worried that his friend will not be able to get a good assignment because he is more playful than serious.

"I worry a little about Asher's Assignment," Jonas confessed.  "Asher's such fun. But he doesn't really have any serious interests. He makes a game out of everything." (Ch, 2)

Assignments are handed out based on a child’s predispositions and interests.  The children are watched carefully in the years before they turn twelve.  The committee uses these observations to determine what profession would best suit the children, since no one actually chooses their own job.

The Recreation Director is in charge of playtime for the community’s children.  Children only play until the age of twelve, but they take part in organized games designed by the Recreation Director.  Asher is given the assignment of Assistant Director of recreation because he is playful.  The Chief Elder describes the qualities that make Asher ideal for the job.

His corrections and apologies are very prompt. And his good humor is unfailing." The audience murmured in agreement. Asher's cheerful disposition was well-known throughout the community. (Ch. 7)

When Jonas begins his own training, he learns many things about his community that no one else knows. One of the things he learns is the real nature of war.  Jonas tries to explain to Asher that they should not play war games.  Asher is irritated at what he sees as Jonas’s meddling.

"I'm the one who's training for Assistant Recreation Director," Asher pointed out angrily. "Games aren't your area of expertness." (Ch. 17)

Asher insists that Jonas cannot say what they play, because that is his job as the Assistant Recreation Director. Asher is training for the position of being in charge of all of games, not Jonas.  He does not understand what Jonas is talking about or why he would interfere, because no one else in the community knows any history.  War is nothing but a game to Asher.

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