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Chapter 17 Notes from The Giver

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The Giver Chapter 17

An announcement is made through the speakers, declaring an unscheduled holiday when adults and children can get rest from work and school. Riding his bicycle to go look for Asher, Jonas thinks to himself that he has not been taking the pills for four weeks, and he feels guilty about the returning Stirrings. He also knows, however, that he cannot return to living without feelings.

Topic Tracking: Feelings 15

Nowadays, Jonas experiences "new, heightened feelings" as a result of the memories that he receives from The Giver. He can also keep the colors that he sees around him, and through the memories, he knows about oceans, lakes, and stream that come from and flow to Elsewhere. On this holiday, Jonas feels happy, and he knows that it is a "new depth of feelings" that he is experiencing. Lily once talked about being angry with someone, and Mother had explained feelings of sadness, but Jonas now realizes that they were not real anger or sadness that Lily and Mother had felt. Lily's anger was not the kind of rage he had once known, and Mother's sadness had not even been close to the kind of grief he had felt. Theirs had only been shallow feelings.

Topic Tracking: Feelings 16
Topic Tracking: Memory 16

Jonas reaches the playing field, and his groupmates are playing a game which he can now recognize as being a game of war. Shouting at each other, they pretend to attack one another, shooting with imaginary weapons and dropping to the ground. Jonas walks into the field and stands in the center, going over in his mind the image of the boy who had begged for water on the battlefield. On the verge of tears, Jonas stands there alone with everyone else watching him uncomfortably. Finally, the children ride away on their bicycles until only Asher and Fiona remain. Asher is annoyed that Jonas has ruined their game. Jonas tries to explain to him that the game is actually cruel, but he does not listen. When Fiona invites Jonas to go ride along the river, he refuses. He understands that he can never return to his childhood when he had played with his friends. "His childhood, his friendships, his carefree sense of security--all of these things [seem] to be slipping away. With his new, heightened feelings, he [is] overwhelmed by sadness at the way the others had laughed and shouted, playing at war. But he [knows] that they [cannot] understand why, without the memories. He [feels] such love for Asher and for Fiona. But they [cannot] feel it back, without the memories. And he [cannot] give them those." Chapter 17, pg. 135

Topic Tracking: Feelings 17
Topic Tracking: Memory 17

In the evening, the family gathers around to talk. It is almost December again, and Lily will become a Nine soon. Father tells them that tomorrow, he has to examine the twins that are being born and make a selection. The smaller twin will receive a Ceremony of Release to be released to Elsewhere. Father does not take the baby Elsewhere; he only has to make the choice between the two newchildren. Lily talks endlessly about the twins and Elsewhere until it is bedtime.

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