Chapter 10 Summary

Jonas’s training is to take place at an Annex attached to the House of the Old. He and Fiona arrive at the House of the Old together and comment on how different life seems now that they are Twelves. The nameplates on their bicycles have been changed overnight, and although Fiona has reported to the House of the Old many times, today feels different. They agree to ride home together if their training ends at the same time.

The Annex is a nondescript building, and Jonas announces his arrival into a speaker next to the door. Inside, he is greeted by a woman who explains that Jonas has nothing to be afraid of, though the Receiver does not like to be kept waiting. She unlocks the door so Jonas can proceed to meet the Receiver. Jonas is shocked that there is a lock on the door; he has never seen a lock before.

The inside of the Receiver’s room is very unusual. The walls are lined with books, and although Jonas has seen books before—like dictionaries and reference manuals that explain the purpose of the buildings in the community—he struggles to imagine how so many rules could exist that it would take this many books. Like every room in the community, there is a speaker through which instructions can be expressed. However, this one has an “off” switch.

The Receiver himself is also interesting. He is very old but tired. When he greets Jonas, he calls him the Receiver. Although the rest of the community views Jonas as a Receiver in training, for the old man, Jonas is already the Receiver. The old man makes other things clear to his charge. To start, Jonas does not need to waste so much time apologizing anymore because they have too much to do. The Elder explains that he is tired from carrying the “weight” of memories and is eager to start their work.

At first, Jonas thinks he will only have to sit and listen to the old man share stories from his childhood. However, the Elder explains that he carries memories from the entire world and from generations. At first, it seemed exciting, like sledding down a hill, but over time it has become more difficult. Jonas fails to comprehend the analogy. He has no understanding of sledding, snow, or even hills. The Elder decides to transmit to Jonas the memory of snow, and he has Jonas remove his tunic and lie face down on a bed to receive this memory.