Chapter 9 Summary
Jonas has been selected for training as a Receiver of Memory. It is the most important role in the entire community, but its unusual nature sets the Receiver apart. This “apartness” can be very isolating. Although Jonas has only just been told of his selection, he already notices that people respond to him differently. Even Lily is noticeably more subdued around Jonas now. When Jonas asks Asher to ride home together, his old friend now seems to hesitate before speaking. Although Asher’s constant cheer can still be felt, it seems to come after a hesitation.
At home, Lily’s youthful excitement returns, and she is already planning what she will do now that she is allowed to volunteer around the community. She will start by working at the Nurturing center because she has already helped her father take care of Gabriel. Because no one is supposed to know Gabe’s name, she will have to be careful. Many children in the community share Lily’s exuberance.
In contrast, although the Ceremony of Twelve has ended, Jonas still feels apprehensive about his future. Many Twelves have been given folders with instructions to read in preparation for their assignments. Jonas’s folder is very thin. Its documents outline eight rules. The first two are related to where Jonas may go during the day, and the Receiver in training notices that his new schedule will isolate him even more from his peers. His mother had warned him that his assignment would potentially force him to meet new friends.
No one prepared Jonas for the other instructions, though. He is now exempted from rudeness and can ask questions that draw attention to his peers’ uniqueness. He may not tell others about his training, nor may he share information about his dreams. Unless he is injured, he may not apply for medication. He also may not “apply for release.” Jonas reflects that the Receiver’s role requires a great deal of courage to endure incomprehensible pain, and he recalls how a door once slammed shut on his hand. How much worse will the pain be that he feels as a Receiver?
Jonas’s mother reassures him that the Receiver has the most important role in the community because it is so unique, but this is little consolation for how isolated Jonas feels.
Jonas feels particular shock at his final instruction: he is allowed to lie. This will enable Jonas to follow the rules exempting him from sharing his dreams and discussing his training, but suddenly Jonas finds himself wondering if everyone else has been given permission to lie. He is permitted to ask rude questions like “do you lie?” but now he has no way to tell whether the response is true.