Symbols and motifs

December Ceremonies

The December Ceremonies are an important motif in Louis Lowry’s novel The Giver. They are the largest and most important events in the community. All working members must attend and are given two days off (Chapter 6, 18%). The ritual celebrations mark a transition for the approximately 50 children in each age group. Indeed, the children's lives proceed according to a fixed schedule in set annual rhythms.

The December Ceremonies begin with the Ceremony of One and end the next day with the Ceremony of Twelve. During the ceremonies, each child is called and given a gift, new rights, or duties in relation to their age. Some of the ceremonies are listed below:

  • Ceremony of Ones: The children are given their names and are assigned to a family. All children born in this year are considered as Ones.
  • Ceremony of Threes: The children are allowed to participate in the morning ritual of telling their dreams as soon as they turn three (Chapter 5, 17%).
  • Ceremony of Fours: The children get their own jacket, but it can only be buttoned from the back, so that the children learn to help each other.
  • Ceremony of Sevens: The children are given a jacket with buttons on the front as a sign of their independence.
  • Ceremony of Eights: the children are given a new jacket with pockets to store small possessions. In addition, the Eights will begin volunteer hours (Chapter 6, 9%).
  • Ceremony of Nines: Until you are a Nine, you are allowed to have a comfort object. After that, you have to give it back so that a new child can have it (Chapter 2, 90%). As a Nine, the hair ribbon is taken off (Chapter 6, 0%). The children receive their bicycles (Chapter 6, 0%).
  • Ceremony of Tens: The children have their hair cut on stage (Chapter 6, 73%).
  • Ceremony of Elevens: The children receive new clothes. The girls receive new underwear, the boys longer pants (Chapter 6, 73%).
  • The Ceremony of Twelve: "The Ceremony of Twelve was the last of the Ceremonies. The most important" (Chapter 2, 40%) for citizens. At the Ceremony of Twelve, the youths are assigned their occupation. After that, most of them no longer count their age, because it is no longer important (Chapter 2, 80%).

The Capacity to See Beyond  

At the Ceremony of Twelve, the Chief Elder presents Jonas's qualities: Intelligence, integrity, courage, wisdom, and "the Capacity to See Beyond." "The Capacity to See Beyond" is a term used by the Giver and communicated to her: "[...] because the current Receiver has told us that Jonas already has this quality. He calls it the Capacity to See Beyond." (Chapter 8, 71%).

The term "seeing beyond" points to Jonas' unique trait of being able to see differently than the other members of the community. He has this experience when he is standing on stage next to the Chief Elder: 

But when he looked out across the crowd, the sea of faces, the thing happened again. The thing that had happened with the apple. They changed. He blinked, and it was gone. His shoulders straightened slightly. Briefly he felt a tiny sliver of sureness for the first time. (Chapter 8, 86%)

Jonas himself noticed this special gift, which he could not name, even before he was selected as the new Receiver of Memory. He recognized a change in an apple: 

But suddenly Jonas had noticed, following the path of the apple through the air with his eyes, that the piece of fruit had—well, this was the part that he couldn’t adequately understand—the apple had changed. Just for an instant. [...] The same nondescript shade, about the same shade as his own tunic. (Chapter 3, 71%).

Jonas does not know at the time, that the change he perceives is color.

Before he goes to his second training session with the Giver, he notices the same change in Fiona's hair: 

It had happened again: the thing that he thought of now as “seeing beyond.” This time it had been Fiona who had undergone that fleeting indescribable change. As he looked up and toward her going through the door, it happened; she changed. Actually, Jonas thought, trying to recreate it in his mind, it wasn’t Fiona in her entirety. It seemed to be just her hair. And just for that flickering instant. (Ch...

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