What happens in chapter 3 of The Giver?

Expert Answers
litteacher8 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

In chapter 3, Jonas’s father brings a baby named Gabe into the house and we realize that Jonas is different.

Jonas’s father is a Nurturer, which means he is responsible for taking care of babies.  If the babies don’t develop as they should, they could be released.  Jonas’s father is worried about one of these babies, and gets special permission to take him home at night for extra nurturing.  The baby, whom his father finds out will be named Gabriel, creates quite a stir in Jonas’s household because families are only allowed two children—one boy and one girl.

Jonas has a connection with the baby from the beginning.

It was the first thing Jonas noticed as he looked at the newchild peering up curiously from the basket. The pale eyes. (Ch. 3, p. 20)

Pale eyes are rare in the community, and they foreshadow both Jonas and Gabe being special.  The pale eyes also mean they are actually related, a fact that is even hinted at in this chapter.

The presence of a baby in the house stirs a conversation about assignments that brings new information to the reader.  We learn that babies come from Birthmothers, and the mothers never actually see their babies.  They have three babies and are pampered until they have done so, and then they become Laborers.  The babies are raised by Nurturers for the first year, then assigned to families when their group turns One.

It is no coincidence that the chapter where Jonas’s pale eyes are highlighted is also the chapter where he has a strange experience with an apple.  Jonas is playing catch with his friend Asher when something weird happens.

But suddenly Jonas had noticed, following the path of the apple through the air with his eyes, that the piece of fruit had—well, this was the part that he couldn't adequately understand—the apple had changed. (Ch. 3, p. 24)

The reader realizes that people in the community do not see color.  When the apple changes, it is really the beginning of Jonas seeing the color red.  It foreshadows his special ability to receive memories, and the fact that Gabe’s eyes are also pale foreshadows that he has it too: Jonas considers the baby’s “pale, solemn, knowing eyes” (p. 25).  It is clear that this connection is going to be important later.

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

amysor | Student

Recently, Jonas’s father has been concerned for one of the children in his care who is not developing fast enough. If the struggling male does not develop more quickly, he may be released. ....

The rest of the Chapter 3 summary from the "The Giver" by Lois Lowry can be found on the enotes.com study guide. They study guide includes detailes summaries from each chapter, character analysis, themes, etc. Check it out!