Chapter 12 Summary

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It is the second day of Jonas’s training as the Receiver of Memory. He has been instructed not to share his dreams with others, but he is still uneasy with the idea that it is permissible for him to lie. It comes as a relief to Jonas that his mother does not ask whether he dreamt but rather whether he slept soundly the night before. It is no lie to admit that he did sleep soundly; it is only an omission not to say he dreamt. Meanwhile, Gabe is fitting in well with the family, though he has been sleeping rather fretfully in comparison to the others.

At school, classes continue as usual for Jonas and his peers. However, the Twelves are all now quite eager to share how their first day of training was with each other. Sadly, Jonas is not allowed to discuss his training with others. At the end of the day as he cycles to the House of the Old with Fiona, Jonas can tell that his friend is eager to hear about his training as the Receiver of Memory. Jonas is forced to change the subject, however, and asks how Fiona’s training is. She shares that although she has volunteered many hours at the House of the Old, she is learning a lot of new things, including that they use a discipline wand on the old, just like they do on the young.

As they part ways, Jonas notices that Fiona’s hair changes somehow. Jonas has come to recognize moments like these as having to do with the capacity to see beyond, but he is still very confused about what is happening. When he arrives at the Annex room, the Giver chastises Jonas for arriving one minute late. Jonas remembers not to apologize and explains that he was sidetracked by the change in Fiona’s hair. Instead of receiving memories, he asks what is going on.

The Giver recognizes that Jonas does not yet have the ability to understand what is happening, but he tries to explain. He starts by inviting Jonas to explore his memory of the sled and snow. When Jonas asks whether the Giver can just transmit the knowledge, the latter explains that the memory now belongs to Jonas. It is up to him to experience, similar to how all the others experience their individual memories. Of course, most people only have a single generation worth of memories, so what Jonas does is somewhat different. In his mind, Jonas tries to experience the memory, and he looks down.

Once again, he sees “beyond,” though he does not understand what he is seeing. The Giver invites Jonas to look at a shelf of books, and they change as well. Given that the first time this happened was with an apple, the Giver is confident that Jonas can see red. He explains that objects still have shape and size, but they once also had color. When the community decided to implement  Sameness, they decided to get rid of color. Fiona’s hair is strikingly red, and the Giver jokes that it must be a great frustration to genetic scientists that abnormalities like red hair still occur.

Jonas declares that they were wrong to eliminate color. At first, the Giver suggests that Jonas has come to a very strong opinion considering that he has only recently begun to receive memories. However, he shares that he himself did not come to this position of disapproval until he had been a Receiver for many years. Perhaps Jonas is wise beyond his years. The Giver decides to transmit the memory of a rainbow.

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Chapter 11 Summary


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