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The Giver

The Giver

by Lois Lowry

The Giver Chapter 12 Summary

  • The next morning at breakfast, Jonas manages to avoid directly lying while not telling his dream to his parents.
  • The dream involved his sledding down the hill, again and again, always about to reach something at the bottom, except he doesn't know what the something is. He knows that it is something good, however – something "welcoming."
  • Jonas heads to school, and during lunch everyone is buzzing about their new assignments and their training. Jonas realizes he couldn't explain his training even if he were allowed, since no one knows what a sled or hill or snow is anyway.
  • When he sees Fiona, it's clear that she expects him to talk about his training. When he doesn't, she's a little taken aback, but she can't ask directly because that would be rude.
  • So she just talks about her training to work with the elderly. She reveals that they use a discipline wand on the Old the same way they do on the young.
  • Then, as he's looking at Fiona, she "changes" the same way the apple did that day. It only happens for an instant, and it is just her hair that changes.
  • When he arrives at The Giver's place after school, Jonas decides to ask him about it.
  • The Giver wants to know if Jonas looked down at the sled when he was experiencing the memory. Jones says no, he didn't.
  • Indeed, says The Giver, this is a case of his seeing beyond; the same thing happened to him when he was Jonas's age, but it happened a little bit differently.
  • Before he explains, however, he makes Jonas lie down and tells him to recall the memory of the snow from yesterday.
  • Jonas concentrates and suddenly is back on the sled. He looks down. Whatever quality that the apple had and that Fiona's hair had for a brief moment, this sled has permanently. He doesn't know what it is, though.
  • Jonas comes back from his memory and The Giver has him look up at one of the books on the shelf, which immediately "changes" the way the apple did.
  • The Giver then confirms his diagnosis: "You're beginning to see the color red," he tells Jonas.
  • Not only does Jonas not know what "color" means, he also doesn't know what "red" means. The Giver explains that, back in the day, before "Sameness," objects had a shape and size, but they also had a color. That's what Jonas saw in the apple, in Fiona's hair, and even in the faces of the crowd at the Ceremony, since flesh has red tones in it.
  • The Giver says that the genetic scientists couldn't work all the kinks out, which is why people like Jonas sometimes still see it.
  • Jonas thinks the color is beautiful, and The Giver explains that he will soon be able to see all the colors.
  • Naturally, Jonas wants to know why anyone would ever get rid of something so wonderful. The Giver explains that it was a choice, and that for losing things like color, they gained control.
  • Jonas vehemently exclaims that they shouldn't have made such a choice, and The Giver is all, "Patience."
  • Jonas asks what The Giver meant when he said he, too, "saw beyond" when he was a kid, but in a different way. The Giver says he'll save that lesson for another day, and begins to send to Jonas the memory of a rainbow.

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