What is the suspense in chapter 7 of "The Giver"? How did the author build suspense in this chapter?

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martina-m eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Chapter 7 of The Giver focuses on the Ceremony of Twelve, during which the Elevens are given their assignments. The chapter starts by describing the way the children are seated and basically tells us that we have to wait until number Nineteen in order to know what Jonas's assignment is.

Together with the children, we as readers sit through the Chief Elder's speech. We listen to her describing the various aptitudes and personalities of the Elevens and try to guess which one sounds like Jonas, based on the information we have. We hear the announcements concerning One, Two and Three. We are slightly more concerned with Four because Four is Asher, Jonas's best friend, and is described in a much more lengthy manner than the other three. This builds anticipation and suspense as we rule out the assignments that have already been given and try to figure out what Jonas is going to get.

We then skip directly to Eighteen, Fiona, and get ready to hear about Jonas. We can feel that his assignment is going to be special somehow, so we can't wait to hear about it. Jonas is calm but prepared and is just waiting to walk to the stage.

The one thing we don't expect is that his number is skipped entirely. The Chief Elder goes straight to Twenty and we are just as confused as Jonas. This does not end the suspense; on the contrary, it makes it much stronger. At the end of the chapter, we, along with the crowd and the other children, are left wondering why Jonas's number was skipped. What did he do wrong in order to deserve such a punishment?

The chapter ends, leaving the situation unresolved.

slchanmo1885 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

In chapter seven the children are at a ceremony that the community holds every year to signify each group of children's age advancement. Each year, the children gain more responsibility and celebrate being another year older. Jonas and the rest of the "Twelves" are participating in this ceremony for the last time, as they are assigned to career positions in the community. All of them are nervous and excited about what their placement might be, and this begins the suspense in the chapter. As they go down the line and state placements, they finally get to Jonas, but his name is not called. Jonas has been skipped over. This causes much anxiety, as the community does not make mistakes like this. This is the greatest cause of suspense in chapter 7. Jonas sits there, humiliated and embarrassed, as he cannot imagine what he has done wrong in order to be singled out in such a way.