What happens at the Ceremony of One in The Giver?

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mwestwood | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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On the momentous day, Jonas catches sight of his father who waves and has the baby Gabriel wave, too. It is with relief that Jonas sees Gabriel, for it means he has not been released. The first Ceremony commences and the new children born of the Birth Mothers are handed out to their new families by the Nurturers. Some of the young children come on the stage to proudly receive a new brother or sister; these babies have already been given a name.

One family is especially exuberant as they receive their new child name Caleb as a "replacement child." The original Caleb was a Four when he wandered from the group and fell into a river and drowned. Then, the community performs the "Murmur-of-Replacement Ceremony," reaching a crescendo as though reviving the old Caleb, whose name has been murmured to a whisper after his death. Another baby named Roberto is a replacement, but because the first was released and not lost, there is no Murmur ceremony.

Clearly, the ceremonies are sterile and impersonal, with no trace of what is considered normal to the reader, for they are devoid of true human feeling and interaction as even birth is institutionalized and involves the community, and expression is only communally chanted.


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