Jonas lives in a community where pain, rudeness, and war are non-existent. Every child undergoes a ceremony in December every year until they reach twelve years of age, at which point they receive their Assignments, the jobs they will perform as adults. A committee of Elders carefully watches each child in order to determine which adult occupation best suits his or her talents and interests. The committee also takes the greatest care in matching spouses in order to ensure stable marriages. No couple is allowed to raise children until the committee determines they are capable of being good parents. Every day, families undergo rituals of sharing, in which they analyze their feelings and dreams with one another.
As his Ceremony of Twelve approaches, Jonas is apprehensive because he has no idea what Assignment he will receive. His parents try to allay his fears by explaining that the committee takes Assignments very seriously, so they rarely make the wrong choices. Meanwhile, Jonas family begins temporarily caring for a newchild, or infant, named Gabriel. Gabriel is lagging behind the other newchildren in development, so Jonass father, a Nurturer, decides to care for Gabriel in his home at night in the hopes that
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