Notes on Objects & Places from The Giver

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The Giver Objects/Places

Community: The community refers to where Jonas and the rest of the citizens live. There are said to be similar communities nearby.

Speaker: There are speakers in family dwellings and all throughout the community that make announcements and reminders. Only The Giver is able to turn these speakers off when he wishes.

Childcare Center : The Childcare Center is where children like Lily spend their after-school hours.

Newchild: A newchild is a newly born child who is taken care of by the Nurturers at the Nurturing Center until they become Ones. There are always fifty newchildren each year, and when they become Ones at the December Ceremony, they are named and given to families.

Evening telling of Feelings: The evening telling of feelings is one of the many rituals in every family dwelling. Each member of the family takes turns to talk about his or her feelings regarding what has happened earlier that day.

Nurturer: A Nurturer works at the Nurturing Center taking care of newchildren. Jonas's father is a Nurturer. Night-crew Nurturers, on the other hand, are people who '[lack] the interest or skills or insight for the more vital jobs of the daytime hours.'

Release : A release is the worst punishment in the community. When people are released, they are sent Elsewhere, never to be seen again. There are, however, two occasions when the release is not a punishment-the release of the elderly and the release of newchildren. When an elderly person is released, there is a celebration during which the person's life is told before others at the House of the Old. No one knows what exactly happens to the person when he or she is released, but after the telling, the person walks through a special door in the Releasing Room, never to be seen again. Newchildren are released from the community if they are unable to grow normally. When newchildren are released, it is not a celebration, but rather a sad occasion because they have not yet had a chance to live within the community. Later, Jonas discovers that when a person is released, he or she is actually being put to sleep.

Department of Justice: The Department of Justice is where Jonas's mother works, and it is a place where offenders of the law are brought to be judged. It is a place that upholds rules in the community.

Ceremony in December (Ceremony of Twelve) : The Ceremony in December is a yearly ceremony held every December. It is when newchildren become Ones, Ones become Twos, until Elevens become Twelves. When Elevens become Twelves, they receive Assignments which designate their roles in the community. Some become Birthmothers; others become Laborers or Instructors of children. Some are placed in the Rehabilitation Center or in the House of the Old.

Naming List : The Naming List is drafted by a committee, and it is a list of the names of all the newchildren who will become Ones during the Ceremony in December. It is a document that is kept in the Nurturing Center. Jonas's father takes a peek at the Naming List in order to learn Gabriel's name.

Bicycle: Children receive their bicycles when they become Nines. There is a rule that states that bicycle riding is prohibited before children become Nines, but it is frequently broken.

Assignments: When children become Twelves, they are given Assignments which designate their jobs in the community.

Hall of Open Records: The Hall of Open Records contains all information regarding every citizen in the community.

Comfort objects: Children who are not yet Eights are given comfort objects that they sleep with. When they become Eights, their comfort objects are taken away to be recycled to younger children. Many comfort objects are 'soft, stuffed, imaginary creatures' such as elephants and bears.

Birthmothers: Some females receive Assignments in the community as Birthmothers. For three years, they give three births after which they spend the rest of their lives as Laborers. When Lily says that birthmothers are fortunate to get good food and time to 'play and amuse themselves,' Jonas's mother tells Lily that 'there is very little honor' in being a Birthmother. Although Birthmothers give births, they do not even get the chance to see their newchildren.

Laborers: Laborers are those in the community who perform physical labor. Birthmothers become Laborers after their three-year period of giving three births.

Apple: One day during the recreation period, Jonas sees an apple change in a strange way. He is playing catch with Asher, and Jonas sees the apple change in mid-air. Later, Jonas learns from The Giver that this had been his first time seeing the color red.

Rehabilitation Center: The Rehabilitation Center is where citizens go when they are injured. An Eleven named Benjamin who has spent many of his volunteer hours there is said to be as skilled as the directors at the Center. That he will most likely be assigned to the field of Rehabilitation is little disputed in the community.

Auditorium: The Auditorium is a large building where public events are held. This is where the Ceremony in December is held every year.

House of the Old: The House of the Old is where the elderly citizens live in the community. It is a peaceful, quiet place where its inhabitants spend time 'sitting quietly, some visiting and talking with one another, others doing handwork and simple crafts' in each of its well-furnished rooms.

Stirring: Talking about a dream he has had, Jonas explains that he was with Fiona. Wanting her to undress herself and enter a bathtub, Jonas had felt 'a wanting' in his dream. When he tells his parents about the dream, they tell him that he has had his first Stirring which usually begins with a dream. In the community, everyone must report Stirrings and take pills to treat them and make them disappear.

Ritual of Telling Dreams: The telling of dreams is a morning ritual when every member of the family tells his or her dreams. Everyone listens carefully and discusses with one another what the dreams might have signified. Usually, Jonas does not have much to say because he rarely dreams.

Front-buttoned jacket: Children get front-buttoned jackets when they become Sevens. As the 'first sign of independence...[and] the first very visible symbol of growing up,' the jackets have buttons in the front. Fours, Fives, and Sixes wear jackets that have buttons in the back so that they will learn to depend on one another to dress themselves.

Family Unit/ Family dwelling : A family unit in the community consists of parents and exactly two children-one boy and one girl. The family lives together until the children grow old enough to have families of their own. The parents, then, go and live with other Childless Adults and eventually go to the House of the Old where they will spend the rest of their lives until being released. Newchildren are assigned to their family units when they become Ones at the Ceremony in December.

Ceremony of Loss: When a Four named Caleb had been lost in the river, the community performed the Ceremony of Loss, repeating Caleb's name, getting softer and less frequent 'so that the little Four seemed to fade away gradually from everyone's consciousness.'

Mumur of Replacement Ceremony: A Murmur of Replacement Ceremony is performed when a newchild bearing Caleb's name is given to the parents who had lost the Four in the river. The community begins to chant Caleb's name, getting louder and faster 'as if the first Caleb were returning.'

Matching of Spouses: The Committee of Elders does Matching of Spouses. An adult applies for a spouse, and the Committee must approve the Match. Sometimes, an adult waits for a long period of time before being given a spouse. Factors such as 'disposition, energy level, intelligence, and interests' must be compatible.

Placement of newchildren: The Committee of Elders also oversees Placement of newchildren in family units. The Committee observes couples for three years before granting them the permission to apply for children. Both Matching of Spouses as well as Placement of newchildren are done with much consideration and care by the Committee.

Smacks: In the community, there is a disciplinary system of smacks for small children. Children who misbehave are given smacks with 'a thin, flexible weapon that [stings] painfully' by childcare specialists. Children are given one smack on the hands for a minor offense and three smacks on the legs for a second offense.

Name Not-to-Be-Spoken: In the community, there are names that are designated Not-to-Be-Spoken. As the 'highest degree of disgrace,' the name is to be never mentioned nor used again for a newchild. The name of the Eleven who had been selected to become a Receiver ten years ago is a name Not-to-Be-Spoken.

The Annex: The Annex is The Giver's dwelling behind the House of the Old. This is where Jonas begins to receive his training. When one pushes the buzzer, one is let in by a female Attendant. A door leads to The Giver's room, and it is the only one locked in the community where no doors are ever locked. The receptionist explains to Jonas who is puzzled that it is to 'ensure The Receiver's privacy.'

Memory: The Giver explains to Jonas that Jonas's Assignment as the next Receiver is to receive memories from The Giver. He tells Jonas that they are not simply memories of The Giver's past, but 'the memories of the whole world... generations before...that [go] beyond-all that is Elsewhere-and all that [go] back, and back, and back.' As a Receiver, The Giver received them, and memories are 'how wisdom comes... and how [people] shape [their] future.' They are also what weary and burden The Giver who must keep all of them to himself.

Sled/Snow: The first memory that Jonas receives from The Giver is that of going down a snow-covered hill on a sled.

Climate Control: The Giver explains to Jonas that with Climate Control, snow eventually became 'obsolete' because it hindered food growing as well as transportation.

Sameness: With Sameness being instituted, people in the community eventually did not have to make any choices. Everything was made to be the same. People's skin, hair, and eye colors were mostly the same. There were no colors or music, nor changes in weather. By being given memories, Jonas understands what the world was like before Sameness.

Color (red): When Jonas first begins to see colors, he sees the color red. First he sees it in an apple that he throws around with Asher one day during recreation period. He also sees it in Fiona's red hair as she walks away from him. Upon being instructed by The Giver, Jonas sees that the sled from the first memory he had been given is also red.

Capacity to See beyond: When the Chief Elder speaks about Jonas's special Assignment as the Receiver of Memories during the Ceremony in December, she says that one last quality necessary for the Receiver is a Capacity to See Beyond. Later, Jonas learns that this capacity was his ability to see colors. For The Giver, it had been a Capacity to Hear Beyond-his ability to listen to music.

Books: When Jonas first goes to The Giver to be trained, he notices that The Giver's room is filled with books. In his home as in other family dwellings, there are only books like the dictionary, books describing offices, factories, and other buildings, and the Book of Rules. He is surprised to see that there are other books as well. Later, The Giver tells him that as the Receiver of Memories, only Jonas and he will ever have access to these books in the community.

Elsewhere: Elsewhere is the place beyond the community. There are stories about people being sent or going Elsewhere, but no one in the community knows for certain that it is there. Asher talks about someone who swam across the river to join another community. According to the rules, it is possible to apply for a release to go Elsewhere. In general, when people are released, they go Elsewhere. Jonas first begins to wonder where Elsewhere exactly is and what it is like, but as his training continues, he comes to believe that there really is an Elsewhere where there are things that he merely sees in his memories. At the end, Jonas decides to flee the community and go seek the Elsewhere he has dreamed and thought about. If Jonas goes away, all the memories he has been given will be let loose for the citizens in the community. After his long, exhausting journey, Jonas sees lights and thinks that it is the Elsewhere he has longed for.

Hall of Closed Records: Tapes of private ceremonies that have been recorded are kept at the Hall of Closed Records.

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