Friday, November 21, 2008

The Giver -- Summary for Chapter 1

This summary is slightly adapted from Book Rags

Chapter 1

With December approaching, Jonas feels frightened, but he immediately corrects himself. He was frightened when an unknown aircraft had twice flown over the community a year ago. It had been his first time seeing an aircraft fly over so closely because it is against the rules to fly over the community.

This aircraft had been different from the usual cargo planes that occasionally delivered supplies to the community. Everyone had been confused, not knowing what to do until an order had been made through the speakers to enter the nearest building and stay there. Jonas remembers that he had been frightened. But the matter was soon resolved. An announcement was made through the speakers that it was a training pilot who had made a mistake. The speaker had added that the pilot would undoubtedly be released. "For a contributing citizen to be released from the community was a final decision, a terrible punishment, an overwhelming statement of failure."

Riding on his bicycle home, Jonas reminds himself of the fear that he had felt then. Always careful about language, he tries to think of the exact word to describe his feelings now. Jonas is different from his friend Asher who is careless with words. Asher is often tardy to school, always having to make his public apologies in front of the classroom. He had made one earlier that day, apologizing to everyone and explaining his reasons for being late. In turn, the class had accepted Asher's apology in unison, and the instructor had corrected Asher's wrong use of the word "distraught."

Thinking back to this incident, Jonas feels that "frightened" may be too strong a word to describe his current feelings. He has long waited this special December, and decides that he is "apprehensive."

After the evening meal, there is the evening telling of feelings. It is one of the routine rituals within the family dwelling. Jonas is hesitant to go first tonight, so he allows Lily, his little sister, to take her turn. Lily announces that she felt angry that afternoon because a group of Sevens had visited her Childcare group, and a boy had constantly cut in line in front of everyone else who had been waiting. Mother and Father suggest that perhaps the boy did not know the rules of their community too well because he was from another community.

After listening to her parents, Lily admits that she is no longer angry, but rather, sorry for the boy who must have felt awkward in a new place. Jonas thinks to himself that Lily's feelings are always "straightforward, fairly simple."

Next, Jonas's father talks about his feeling of worry. Jonas's father is a Nurturer who takes care of every newchild during its earliest stage of life. Father talks about a male child who is not growing like the other children. The child does not sleep well and has to be put in the extra care section. Jonas, Lily, and Mother all sympathize because the child might be released. In the community, there are releases of the elderly and of the children. The elderly are released after having lived a full life, and the release is a celebration. When newchildren are released, however, it is sad because there is "a sense of what-could-we-have-done."

Father says that he is going to keep trying with the child. He has already asked the committee for permission to bring the child home because the night crew Nurturers are not as caring or skilled. Without the "capacity to connect to others," most of them do not even have spouses. Lily suggests jokingly that maybe they can keep the baby, but Mother reminds her of the rules. There can only be two children--a male and a female--in a family unit.

Mother who works at the Department of Justice talks about her feelings of frustration and anger. Someone who had broken the rules before had been brought before her again for repeat offense. She says that she was a bit frightened; within the community, there is no third chance. The man will most likely be released from the community.

Jonas, Lily, and Father comfort Mother, and she thanks them. Jonas's turn comes, and he confesses that he feels apprehensive about the Ceremony of Twelve in December. Mother and Father tell Lily to get ready for bed because they wish to talk to Jonas in private.