Chapter 21 Summary
In spite of all the careful plans he made with the Giver to take advantage of the Ceremony of Twelve, Jonas ends up leaving early. The Giver would likely have been able to offer Jonas a great deal of help, but the young Receiver is forced to make do without it.
While Jonas was staying with the Giver, Jonas’s father allowed Gabriel to return to the care center. The infant fussed and squabbled all night, greatly irritating the Nurturers. The next day, even Jonas’s father was forced to agree that the time had come for Gabe’s release, and plans have been made to release the child the next day. Jonas’s father sighs and admits that the community has done everything in its power for Gabe. Jonas’s mother, whose sleep has been disrupted for so long, readily agrees that it is time for Gabe to be released.
Jonas decides to escape ahead of schedule and to take Gabe with him. He takes his father’s bicycle, which will allow him to carry Gabriel. He also takes some supplies to feed the infant. He dodges workmen and patrols before crossing the bridge that takes people away from the community. Soon he notices that the outer dwellings of the community are becoming less common. He knows that planes will begin searching for him and Gabriel soon. Jonas has robbed the community to make his escape.
To avoid patrols, Jonas travels at night and rests during the day. His legs are soon numb from exertion, but he finds that he is getting stronger and does not need to break so often. He and Gabriel scrounge for water and food in the fields that surround the community. But their escape is not over; they have not arrived anywhere.
Planes are sent out to find Jonas and Gabriel. These are not the same planes Jonas saw at the beginning of the novel. These ones fly low and are designed for searching. In fact, the planes fly so low that Jonas can nearly make out the faces of the pilots. However, he knows that the pilots are colorblind, which will work to his advantage. On the other hand, he knows that the planes have been equipped with heat-tracking equipment. To combat this, Jonas transmits memories of snow to Gabriel, though he is careful to keep some for himself. He begins to notice that the memories he carries are less powerful. Fortunately, the planes are becoming less common.