The Giver Ceremonies

What gift do the children receive at ages 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11 and 12?

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In The Giver, most of a child’s first twelve years are marked by some gift or milestone. At age one, children are assigned a name and family. At age four, they receive jackets that button in the back to teach them interdependence. At age seven, they receive front-buttoning jackets. Year eight’s get new clothes with pockets while year nine’s receive bicycles. In year ten, the children get new haircuts. In year eleven, they are given more gender specific clothes. Finally, in year twelve, children are given their assignment in the community.


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Each ceremony contains a symbolic meaning as children age.  The nature of the gift depends on how the child is maturing.  The community has determined what milestone each age group should meet.  If you look carefully, you will see that each of these ceremonies is designed to foster sameness in the community.  The ceremonies are kind of like big, community-wide birthday parties.  Everyone born in a certain year turns the same age at the same time.

Here are the ceremonies and milestones.  The important ones are in bold.

One: Naming: A name and a family (p. 41).  This is the ceremony where...

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One: Naming

Two: Discipline wand

Three: Dream telling

Four: Jacket with buttons on the back for interdependence

Five: ?

Six: ?

Seven: Front buttoned jacket for independence

Eight: New jacket with smaller buttons and pockets

Nine: Bicycles

Ten: New haircuts

Eleven: New clothes

Twelve: Assignments are given