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 stag...

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