The Giver is a novel about a futuristic society. Jonas and his sister Lily live with their mother, who works at the Department of Justice, and their father, who is a Nurturer. The society itself seems like a perfect place to live. The children receive special gifts at The Ceremony; the gifts are determined by age. Lily is eight, and at age eight children start volunteer hours. This is another way that the children are showing signs of their growing independence.
"Lily became an Eight and received the identifying jacket that she would wear this year, this one with smaller buttons and, for the first time, pockets, indicating that she was mature enough now to keep track of her own small belongings."
In the society, children are trained from an early age, to become independent. Lily, now eight, gets to start her volunteer hours, just another way to prove that she is growing up. As we see with Jonas, now twelve, children are considered adults. Everything seems so perfect in this way of life, but we are to learn that things are not always what they seem.
At her Ceremony of Eight, Jonas's younger sister, Lily, receives a special jacket which provides identification and possesses pockets. This is a symbol of her increasing sense of autonomy and her transitioning towards adulthood. Now that she is eight years old, Lily will be responsible for keeping track of her own possessions. She will also be able to start performing volunteer hours, which will aid in contributing to the Community around her.
These ceremonies take the place of typical birthday celebrations, in which children would normally be valued for their individuality and showered with toys or gifts which suit them. Rather, the Ceremony of Eight is a public event, and although it may be celebratory in nature, it is also largely a formality marking the passage of time.