Who is the most important elder?

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jameadows | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Senior Educator

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As stated in Chapter 2, the Receiver is the most important elder. For example, only the Receiver can change important rules, though the other elders do not like to bother the Receiver about small things. The community has only one Receiver of Memories, and it is a very esteemed position. In fact, being the Receiver is the most respected job in the entire community. Jonas has been selected to become the next Receiver because the Chief Elder has observed that he has the necessary qualities to carry out this vital job. The Chief Elder states that Jonas has intelligence, as he is a top student. She also states that he has integrity. While Jonas has committed minor transgressions, he always allows himself to be properly punished. In addition, the Chief Elder feels that Jonas has the courage to undergo the rigorous and difficult training required to be the Receiver. As the Receiver is the most important elder, he or she must possess all of these qualities. 

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accessteacher's profile pic

accessteacher | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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The answer to this question comes in Chapter 7, which narrates the Ceremony of the Twelve where Jonas and his friends are given their assignments. The community meets in the auditorium all together and each group sits together - not families together, but year groups together. We are not given that much information about the chief elder, except that she is female and it is her job to give the introductory speech at this important ceremony. The Chief Elder obviously has the role of being key in making the decisions about assignments, and therefore knows each of the new twelves very well. Note for example, the introduction she gives to Asher before he receives his assignment:

"When the committe began to consider Ahser's Assignment," she went on, "there were some possibilities that were immediately discarded. Some that would clearly not have been right for Asher."

She goes on to narrate amusing stories about Asher and his past misdemeanours before finally announcing his Assignment. Therefore the chief of the elders is a very important person in this society and has knowledge of every person in it.

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newportmom41's profile pic

newportmom41 | (Level 1) Honors

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The Receiver is the most important elder.

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