What were the rules for Jonas's training in The Giver?

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litteacher8 | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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Jonas had eight rules.  Most of the rules told him where to go, but some rules surprised him.

Jonas realized that he was not going to have much free time after he was chosen as the new Receiver of Memory.  The first and second rules told him to go directly from school to The Giver and directly from The Giver home at the end of the training day.

The first rule that startled Jonas was the third one.

3. From this moment you are exempted from rules governing rudeness. You may ask any question of any citizen and you will receive answers. (ch 9, p. 68-9)

Jonas was surprised that he could ask anyone anything and they would have to tell him.  He could not imagine deliberately being rude to anyone.  He decided he did not have to be rude, but he could.  Jonas was sure “he would never take advantage of it” (p. 69).  Being polite was too instilled in him.

Rules number 4 and 5 further removed Jonas from the community by clouding him in secrecy.  These rules prevented dream-telling and did not allow him to discuss his training.  He realized that he rarely had dreams, so it would not be hard to not tell them.

Jonas was not surprised by rule 7, which prohibited him from asking for release. It never occurred to him to ask to be released and permanently leave the community.  He found out later that this was because if he died any memories he had would go back to the people.

Jonas is mostly startled by the last rule, rule 8.  This rule allowed him to lie, something strictly forbidden in the community.

His mind reeled. Now, empowered to ask questions of utmost rudeness—and promised answers—he could, conceivably (though it was almost unimaginable), ask someone, some adult, his father perhaps: "Do you lie?" (ch 9, p. 71)

The possibility of lying, and if not knowing whether others were lying, was frightening to Jonas.  All of the sudden the rules and principles on which his entire life had been built were being stripped away.  Jonas began to doubt his community for the first time, foreshadowing greater doubts to come.

 

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

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