What are Jonas's rules in The Giver?

Quick answer:

Jonas's rules in The Giver are to go immediately to the Annex after school and return home immediately after his training sessions. Jonas is exempt from rules governing rudeness and can ask any question to any member of the community. He is also prohibited from discussing his training with anyone or dream-telling. Jonas cannot apply for medication to alleviate the pain he experiences during his training. He is prohibited from applying for release and has been given permission to lie.

Expert Answers

An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

The answer to your question can be found in chapter nine of The Giver. The rules which Jonas is given adds to his feeling that he is now on his own, separated from his peers by the job that he has been given. The rules that Jonas is given are printed on a single sheet of paper. There are eight rules.

As the incumbent Receiver of Memory, he is required to present himself to the attendant behind the House of the Old after school hours every day. His whereabouts are further governed by the second rule, which states that he must go home at the end of training hours each day.

The third rule relates to social protocols, and grants Jonas permission to ask any citizen any question that he likes and be sure of receiving an answer. He is instructed that he may not talk about his training with any community member, including his family. In addition, he will no longer participate in the tradition of dream-telling.

Jonas is also forbidden from applying for any medication to help with the pain that will be part and parcel of his training. Finally, and most surprisingly to Jonas, the new rules applicable to him allow him to lie.

After reading these rules, Jonas is faced with the realization that his childhood is gone, and with it, his freedom.

Approved by eNotes Editorial
An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

After Jonas is selected to be the community's next Receiver of Memory, he experiences a feeling of separateness from his peers and family, which he finds uncomfortable and awkward. Later that night, Jonas opens his folder and begins reading his rules. The first rule requires Jonas to go immediately to the Annex after school and present himself to the attendant. Jonas is also required to go immediately to his dwelling following his training sessions. Jonas is also exempt from every rule governing rudeness and is given the special privilege of asking any questions to anyone in the community. This rule startles Jonas but in no way compels him to act rudely towards others.

Jonas is also prohibited from discussing his training with anyone in the community or participating in the routine dream-telling ritual. These rules enhance Jonas's feelings of isolation, but he is not concerned about dream-telling because he barely dreams on a regular basis. The sixth rule prohibits Jonas from taking any medication related to pain or injuries he suffers during his training sessions. This rule is particularly unsettling considering the fact that Jonas will endure unimaginable pain during his training. Jonas is also prohibited from applying for release, and the final rule gives him permission to lie. Jonas finds the final rule perplexing and questions if every adult in the community has been given permission to lie.

Approved by eNotes Editorial
An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

At the beginning of Chapter 9, Jonas reads the instructions for his given Assignment. When Jonas opens his Assignment folder, he reads the following rules listed for the position of Receiver of Memory.

  1. Jonas must go immediately to the Annex after school, which is located behind the House of the Old.
  2. Jonas must go immediately to his dwelling each day after completing the required Training Hours.
  3. Jonas is exempt from the rules regarding rudeness. He is also given the authority to question any citizens.
  4. Jonas is not allowed to discuss his training with anyone in the community, including his parents and Elders.
  5. Jonas is not allowed to tell any of his dreams.
  6. Jonas is not allowed to take any medication for pain or injuries associated with his training. He is only allowed to take medication for injuries or pain unrelated to his training.
  7. Jonas is not permitted to apply for release.
  8. Jonas is given permission to lie.

Jonas is shocked and disturbed after reading the rules for his Assignment. Jonas has a difficult time grasping the reality that he cannot take medication to ease the pain related to his training, as well as the fact that he is allowed to lie.

Approved by eNotes Editorial
An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

Jonas's rules are found in Chapter 9. His first rule tells him to report to the Annex entrance behind the house of the old each day.

His second rule tells him to go home after training each day.

His third tells him that he is exempt from rudeness and that he may ask questions and get answers from anyone. This rule is shocking because no one in the community is free to ask rude questions.

His fourth rule instructs him not to discuss his training.

His fifth rule prohibits him from dream-telling, which is also a surprise, because telling and analyzing dreams is a routine that every family in the community does together.

The sixth rule tells him not to ever apply for medication unless it is unrelated to his job. This is a heads-up that his job might be painful, and he will not be allowed to take medicine for it.

The seventh rule says that he is not allowed to apply for release. This does not bother Jonas, as he cannot fathom ever wanting to apply for release anyway.

The last rule is the most unnerving, though: "You may lie." No one in the community was EVER allowed to lie. This makes Jonas wonder, however, how many other people received this same rule, and how many people did actually lie.

Many of these rules shatter some illusions Jonas has about the community, and it is clear that his job will not be anything he might expect.

Approved by eNotes Editorial
An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

What was Jonas' 8th rule on his list of rules in The Giver?

Jonas receives a set of rules along with his new job appointment. Jonas' 8th rule is "You may lie." This is an earth-shattering rule to him, as no one in the community is supposed to be allowed to lie. The community if very clear on communication and people even report their dreams to each other. This rule also serves as a catalyst to his questioning of the community, because if he is allowed to lie, he wonders how many other people received that same rule, that they were allowed to lie, "What if others -- adults --had, upon becoming Twelves, received in their instructions the same terrifying sentence?" (Chapter 9). Jonas realizes he would never have any way of knowing if anyone else in the community is allowed to lie.

Last Updated on
An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

How does Jonas react to rule number eight in The Giver?

In chapter 9, Jonas reads the rules for his Assignment, which exempt him asking rude questions, prohibit him from taking medications related to pain experienced during training sessions, and prohibit him from dream-telling. While Jonas is startled by the rule regarding pain medication, he is particularly astonished and perplexed by the eighth rule, which gives him permission to lie. Ever since Jonas was a child, lying was strictly forbidden. Jonas even remembers being chastised as a child for saying that he was starving prior to a midday meal. After reading the eighth rule, Jonas becomes unnerved as he wonders if all adults were given permission to lie at the age of twelve. If this is the case, Jonas realizes that every adult, including his parents, could be lying to him on a daily basis. Jonas struggles to understand whether or not adults have been lying to him his entire life and contemplates asking them if they have lied. Overall, Jonas is frightened, unnerved, and perplexed after reading the eighth rule of his Assignment.

See eNotes Ad-Free

Start your 48-hour free trial to get access to more than 30,000 additional guides and more than 350,000 Homework Help questions answered by our experts.

Get 48 Hours Free Access
Last Updated on