The Giver Chapters 1 - 3 Summary

The Giver by Lois Lowry is told from a third-person point of view but focuses on Jonas, an eleven-year-old who lives with his parents and his seven-year-old sister Lily. It is clear from the context that this story takes place in a futuristic society. They have strict rules about having only two children for family and only giving criminals two chances to correct their behavior. Jonas's father is a Nurturer, which means he cares for the newborn children and his mother works in the Department of Justice. Jonas attends school with Asher, a friend of his. They don't seem to have animals in their society. When people are not behaving or thriving in their society, they are released.

Each night Jonas gathers with his family around the dinner table to discuss their day and express their feelings about how things went. They are open about things which frustrate them, such as the behavior or more often the misbehavior of others. Jonas admits that he is feeling apprehensive about the upcoming Ceremony of Twelve, which will occur soon. At the end of chapter one, Jonas's parents request to speak to him privately.

In chapter two Jonas talks privately to his parents who explain the importance of the ceremonies held each December. At the age one ceremony, the fifty children born each year are each assigned to a family and given a name. Parents must apply to receive children and will only be given one boy and one girl. Jonas's father admitted that he recently broke a rule by looking up the name of a baby who isn't doing well in the Nurturing Center. He found out that if the child isn't released, he is to be named Gabriel, so Jonas's father has been calling him Gabe privately to comfort him.

At the age eight ceremony, Lily will lose her comfort object, which is a stuffed elephant, which they believe is an imaginary animal. Then at age nine, she will receive a bicycle although a committee is looking into lowering the age to give children their bicycles. The elders watch the children as they grow. Then at the age eleven ceremony, each child is assigned a job. Their schooling ends, and they begin spending time with others who perform that job to become trained to perform the necessary tasks. Jonas's father felt sure about what job he would be assigned since he had always loved newborn babies, but Jonas wonders what his job will be.

In chapter three, Jonas's father lets the family play with the baby, Gabriel, whom he brought home from the Nurturing Center for extra attention. They notice that the baby has light-colored eyes, like Jonas does, which is rare. Jonas's father wonders if they had the same birthmother. Birthmother is another assigned job in which women are allowed to give birth three times, without ever seeing their offspring, and then they are sent out to do physical labor. Jonas doesn't often think about his eye color because there aren't many mirrors around. They play with Gabe's comfort object, which is a hippo, and Lily wonders what her future job might be. Jonas thinks she would make a good Speaker because she loves to talk. Speakers make public announcements often chastising individuals without saying their names.

Jonas remembers a time when he was called out for stealing an apple to bring home with him. He had wanted to keep the apple because when he and Asher had been tossing it back and forth to one another, it had somehow changed. It happened several times, and Jonas wanted to examine the apple more closely, but when he brought it home, he couldn't make the change happen again. He apologized for his misdeed and wished he would have talked to his parents about his motivation for keeping the apple, but he never did.

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