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by Lois Lowry

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What are Jonas's rules in "The Giver"?

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At the beginning of Chapter 9, Jonas reads the instructions for his given Assignment. When Jonas opens his Assignment folder, he reads the following rules listed for the position of Receiver of Memory.

  1. Jonas must go immediately to the Annex after school, which is located behind the House of the Old.
  2. Jonas must go immediately to his dwelling each day after completing the required Training Hours.
  3. Jonas is exempt from the rules regarding rudeness. He is also given the authority to question any citizens.
  4. Jonas is not allowed to discuss his training with anyone in the community, including his parents and Elders.
  5. Jonas is not allowed to tell any of his dreams.
  6. Jonas is not allowed to take any medication for pain or injuries associated with his training. He is only allowed to take medication for injuries or pain unrelated to his training.
  7. Jonas is not permitted to apply for release.
  8. Jonas is given permission to lie.

Jonas is shocked and disturbed after reading the rules for his Assignment. Jonas has a difficult time grasping the reality that he cannot take medication to ease the pain related to his training, as well as the fact that he is allowed to lie.

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Jonas's rules are found in Chapter 9. His first rule tells him to report to the Annex entrance behind the house of the old each day.

His second rule tells him to go home after training each day.

His third tells him that he is exempt from rudeness and that he may ask questions and get answers from anyone. This rule is shocking because no one in the community is free to ask rude questions.

His fourth rule instructs him not to discuss his training.

His fifth rule prohibits him from dream-telling, which is also a surprise, because telling and analyzing dreams is a routine that every family in the community does together.

The sixth rule tells him not to ever apply for medication unless it is unrelated to his job. This is a heads-up that his job might be painful, and he will not be allowed to take medicine for it.

The seventh rule says that he is not allowed to apply for release. This does not bother Jonas, as he cannot fathom ever wanting to apply for release anyway.

The last rule is the most unnerving, though: "You may lie." No one in the community was EVER allowed to lie. This makes Jonas wonder, however, how many other people received this same rule, and how many people did actually lie.

Many of these rules shatter some illusions Jonas has about the community, and it is clear that his job will not be anything he might expect.

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