The Giver Chapter 7
The Elevens sit in front of the stage in the order of the original numbers that were given to them at birth. The numbers are a rarely used form of identification. Jonas is Nineteen which means that he is the nineteenth child born his year, born after Fiona who is Eighteen and before Pierre who is Twenty.
The Chief Elder who is the leader of the community elected every ten years makes a speech about the times of childhood and the responsibilities of adulthood. She mentions the Committee of Elders who has worked hard on the Assignments, and one by one, Elevens are called up to the stage. For each new Twelve, a speech is made about his or her childhood and new Assignment he or she will receive. Number One, a girl named Madeline, is assigned as Fish Hatchery Attendant after whom Inger, Number Two, is announced as a Birthmother. Jonas thinks that the Assignment fits Inger who is strong, but lazy. After Issac, Three, is assigned as an Instructor of Sixes, Asher is called. The Chief Elder begins her speech about Asher. She talks about Asher's days as a Three. One day, Asher, impatient for his juice and crackers, blurted out "smack" although he had meant "snack." Because precise use of language was important, Asher was given a smack with the rod used to discipline children which was what he had asked for.
For weeks, however, Asher continued to make the same mistake and was continually disciplined with the wand. After awhile, Asher stopped talking. Coming to the end of her story, the Chief Elder turns to Asher, praising him for his humor and cheerfulness. Giving him his Assignment as Assistant Director of Recreation, she thanks him for his childhood.
The Ceremony continues, and Jonas becomes increasingly nervous as his turn approaches. When Fiona is called, she receives the Assignment of Caretaker of the Old which Jonas thinks is perfect for his sensitive friend. Jonas readies himself to be called next, but the Chief Elder instead calls Pierre who is Twenty and skips Jonas. Jonas and the rest of the community are astonished, but the Ceremony continues with the rest of the Elevens. "[Jonas] [hunches] his shoulders and [tries] to make himself smaller in the seat. He [wants] to disappear, to fade away, not to exist. He [doesn't] dare to turn and find his parents in the crowd. He [can't] bear to see their faces darkened with shame. Jonas [bows] his head and [searches] through his mind. What had he done wrong?" Chapter 7, pg. 58