Summary chapters 1-8

Chapter 1

Setting: On the way home, at Jonas' family home 

Time: End of November

Characters: Jonas, Jonas' father, mother, and sister Lily

Summary: As 11-year-old schoolboy Jonas rides his bicycle home, he tries to find the best word to describe his current feeling about something special that will happen in December (1%).

Jonas remembers an aircraft he heard last year when it flew over the community, causing a great deal of anxiety and making him experience fear. A voice through the loudspeakers instructed community members to go to leave their bicycles where they were and head for the nearest building (9%).

 Eventually, the voice from the loudspeaker gave the all-clear again and announced that a trainee pilot has made a navigational error and had steered off course. The pilot was to be punished and "released", which Jonas knows is the worst punishment in the community (18%).

Jonas then thinks about his best friend Asher, who is often late for school and doesn't express himself too well. The community has a clear rule: for an offense, like being late, you have to apologize to the group, then the group has to accept this apology with a certain formula (27-36%).

Jonas eventually comes to the conclusion that the word "frightened" is too strong to describe his feelings regarding the coming events in December. He adds that he is rather "eager, and "excited," but also "nervous," so he concludes that "apprehensive" is the best word to describe his condition. He belongs to the group of "Elevens" who are all excited about what is about to happen to them.

At Jonas's home, after dinner, the family practices the community ritual "the evening telling of feelings". Each family member describes his or her feelings and the rest of the family reflects on these statements (36%-100%).

First up is Jonas’ seven-year-old sister Lily. She expresses her anger about the children from another community who visited her class and did not follow the rules of the community (45-55%). Lily’s parents help her realize that the strange children probably follow different norms and probably do not know the rules of their community. 

The family tries to help Lily get rid of her feeling of anger. Finally, Lily shows understanding for the visitors' behavior. Eventually, she feels sorry for the boy she was upset with because she understands that he must have felt unsafe in the new community since he didn't know the rules. Moreover, she now regrets that she acted so angrily (55-74%).

Next up is Jonas' father. Jonas' father is a Nurturer and is responsible for caring for the newborn children in the community, which are called newchildren. He tells of a newchild who is not developing well enough and is not sleeping through the nights. If this does not change, then he will have to be released. The Father is worried about the baby. He therefore wants to ask the committee for permission to let the boy stay with Jonas' family for a while to develop better. All family members agree to this (64-82%).

In the course of the discussion, it is told that most Nurturers on the night shift do not have a spouse. Only people with certain qualities are assigned a spouse in the community. Each couple is also only allowed two children, a girl and a boy (82%).

Finally, it is Jonas' turn, but he actually does not want to express his feelings that evening. However, he knows that the rules of the community dictate that he must share his emotional state with his family. 

Jonas then confesses that he is worried. "The Ceremony of Twelve" will take place soon, and Jonas will be assigned his future profession (p.82-100%). The parents respond understandingly to his concerns and send Lily out of the room so they can talk to him alone (100%).

Chapter 2

Setting: At Jonas' family home (The second chapter directly follows the scene in the first chapter)

Time: Late November, the same evening

Characters: Jonas, Jonas' father, mother, and sister Lily

Summary: Jonas' mother and father talk to him about "The Ceremony of Twelve". Every year in December, the status of the children in the community changes gradually at a ceremony. For example, when they are one year old, they receive their name in "The Ceremony for the Ones" and are assigned to a family.

 In the context, all children born in that year count as ones. A year's group normally includes 50 children, but it counts fewer children when one of them who does not meet the requirements is released (10%). The assigned child and name are not chosen by the family (10%). Jonas' family remembers the year in which they received Lily, after they had made an application.

Jonas' father confesses that he secretly looked at the list of names for the newchildren in the Nurturing Center so that he could address the child he was worried about by his name, which is Gabriel. He hopes that naming him correctly will help his development. Jonas is surprised that his father has disobeyed the community's rules (10-20%).

There are also talks about the "Nine Ceremony", in which children are given a new bicycle when they reach the age of nine. The rules state that the children are not allowed to ride bicycles until then. However, most children break this rule and learn to ride a bicycle from siblings or friends beforehand (30%). 

The Committee of Elders is already discussing allowing children to have bicycles at an earlier age. However, such deliberations usually take a long time and therefore it is very difficult to change a rule in the community. The Receiver is asked by the Elders for advice on important decisions (30-40%). Jonas, however, has never seen the Receiver.

The Father then tells of the "Ceremony of Twelve", which is the most important of all the annual ceremonies (40%). During this ceremony, it is announced which Assignments the young people will pursue. This decision is made by the Committee of Elders. The children themselves have no say in the matter. No one knows what future awaits them before the ceremony.

However, some can guess, especially if they have a certain ability or inclination towards a certain field. Jonas’ father guessed that he would become a Nurturer (40%). To make their decision, the Elders observe the children in the year before the decision and talk to their teachers to get an idea of their individual talents (50%).

After their Eight Ceremony, the youths begin to complete volunteer hours in various fields, during which they are also observed (40%). Anxiously, Jonas asks if his parents know anyone who was disappointed with his Assignment. His father reassures him that although some were surprised, they were not displeased because the Elders always think very carefully before making their decision (60%).

The Mother explains that the "Ceremony of Twelve " is the last annual official ceremony, during which new duties, gifts...

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