Chapter 3, Summary
Gabriel comes to stay with Jonas’s family. There are rules that the community must follow: everyone rides bikes, apologies are given to one another continually, and there are no mirrors. Jonas’s experience with an apple is related in this chapter. He and Asher throw an apple back and forth at school, and Jonas notices a change in the apple when it is in midair. For an instant, the apple changed. Birthmothers are introduced also in this chapter. Lily is thinking about becoming a birthmother, much to her mother’s disagreement.
Chapter 3, Analysis
Again, the author sets up the mystery in this chapter with presenting all the rules for the community, and the reader can sense that the community’s way of life is very rigid. Jonas was told by a school announcement, not directly but through an announcement that was posted for all to see, that they were not to take objects or food from the recreation area. Jonas had taken an apple home and then had to make an apology to the director the next day. This simple thing of taking an apple and being humiliated in front of the whole community for doing so helps to further the sense of dread for the members of the community and also helps to enhance the mystery in the novel.
In this chapter, Jonas’s character is set up as someone who has unique qualities. He has an experience with an apple; it “changes” as he is tossing it back and forth with his friend, but the author gives no explanation as to how the apple changes. Again, the sense of dread and mystery are developed further, and we can sense also a foreshadowing of future events with this apple.
Birthmothers also help to create the sense of distance between parents and children; we gather from what exposition the author gives in this chapter through the conversation between Lily and her mother that birthmothers are the ones who have the babies in the community; they are different from the woman who eventually is given a child to raise. This creates a sense of uneasiness throughout the whole novel as well.
Chapter 4, Summary
Jonas and his friends do volunteer work at the House of the Old, bathing the elderly. Jonas helps Larissa take her bath; the scene is innocent, and Jonas learns compassion and love by the simple act of bathing someone. He also learns a little more about Releasing from Larissa, who tells him the story about one of the elderly who had been released.
Chapter 5, Summary
In this chapter, Jonas has a dream about Fiona. He experiences sexual awareness, called “stirrings” by the people in the community. These stirrings are arrested by taking a pill. According to the Book of Rules, stirrings must be reported in order for treatment to take place. Jonas’s mother gives him the pill, and the stirrings disappear.
Chapters 4 and 5, Analysis
Jonas’s experiences with “stirrings,” or his awakening to adulthood, are presented to further the idea of Jonas’s maturation in the novel. As the main character, Jonas’s experiences are important in the development of the story. At this point, he is learning more and more about his community, namely about the rituals of the community such as Releasing, and secondly, about the people with whom he lives in this small community.
Chapter 6, Summary
The Ceremony of Twelve takes place in this chapter. All the children are given their assignments, and the newchildren who are ready to be adopted are given to their new parents. Gabriel, though, was given another year before being given to a family. This was at Father’s request. It is stated in this chapter that those who were released were sent to a place called Elsewhere and never returned to the community. Jonas’s sister, Lily, becomes an Eight. She would be doing volunteer hours for the first time. There is also the Matching of Spouses, where each adult is matched with his or her newly assigned spouse. All the rules are set in place by the Committee of Elders.
Chapter 6, Analysis
This chapter presents again the idea of distance between the characters and distance between the community and the outside world, a place called Elsewhere. Elsewhere presents a feeling of mystery because we don’t know what it is, but the reader is told that this is where the members of the community go when they are released, again enhancing the sense of mystery in the story. Distance is also represented here through the mention of rules again in the Matching of Spouses. The members of the community are not allowed to choose their own spouses, creating this sense of dread and distance.