Chapter 2 Summary

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Last Updated on October 26, 2018, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 521

Jonas’s parents attempt to reassure him about the Ceremony of Twelve. His father explains that it is natural to feel apprehension, but he also points out that Jonas usually enjoys the ceremony. It is true that Jonas enjoys watching the ceremony, especially the naming.

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Jonas’s father is a Nurturer, and he shares his own experiences related to the ceremony. When he was young, Jonas’s father had a pretty good idea of what his assignment would be. Although he had participated in bicycle races with other boys, he had spent most of his volunteer hours in the childcare center. Jonas and his mother are surprised to hear that Jonas’s father had been so confident of his assignment, but he admits that he still felt apprehension during the ceremony. In fact, he had only really paid attention to his younger sister, a Nine, who received her bicycle that year.

It is against the rules to ride a bicycle before becoming a Nine, but Jonas’s father admits that he had been teaching his sister to ride a bicycle before the ceremony. This is such a common infraction that some people have proposed lowering the age at which children can ride bicycles. A committee has begun to look into the matter, which means that the rule will likely not be changed. The Elders rarely agree to change a rule, and when they do it is only after an extended period of deliberation. Sometimes, they will consult the Receiver, the most important of the Elders, but usually the rules remain unchanged. Still, everyone trusts the Elders to make good decisions for the community, even for boys like Jonas’s friend Asher. Asher is always focused on having fun, but has few other interests.

Jonas’s mother shares her own experiences related to the Ceremony of Twelve. One thing that Jonas should be preparing himself for is the change in his education. Up to this point, he has been given a lot of time for recreation with his friends. Now, he will be asked to devote more of his time to his studies in preparation for his assignment. He will not have time for his year's group, and he might even forget his age in time. All of this makes Jonas wonder whether he will still have time for recreation after the ceremony.

Jonas’s father has time for play, but that may be because he is a Nurturer. Even if he mostly plays peek-a-boo, Jonas’s father has an important job. Although he did not break rules to learn whether Lily would be the child assigned to his family unit, he could have. After all, although the names are publicly assigned at the ceremony, a list is made beforehand that Nurturers can easily peek at. In fact, Jonas’s father recently checked the list to see whether a struggling infant at his work has been given a name. The child has been named Gabriel, and Jonas’s father likes to call him Gabe. Ultimately, Jonas finds all of this fascinating, but he is still apprehensive about what his assignment will be.

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