The Giver Chapter 12 Summary & Analysis

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Analysis & Themes

That night Jonas dreams he is at the top of a snow-covered hill, needing to reach whatever is waiting at the bottom. The next morning, during dream-telling, he follows the rules about not revealing anything connected to his training and lies to his family, saying that he had no dreams.
The downward-sloping hill symbolizes Jonas's desire for freedom from the community. Jonas feels conflicted about disobeying the rules he has been taught.
At school, the other Twelves are all talking about their new Assignments. Fiona tells Jonas there is a lot she didn't know about the House of the Old, like how they use a discipline wand on the Old just as they do on children. Jonas knows Fiona wants to know details about his job, but he knows he can't tell her anything. Even if he could, she wouldn't understand, so he remains silent. But he's sad to disappoint Fiona.
The rules isolate Jonas, but his job isolates him even more—his friends can't understand him anymore. The use of the discipline wand on the old shows how the rules make the community act without compassion.
As Fiona rides away, Jonas notices that her hair changes the same way that the apple changed. When he arrives a minute late to his session with The Giver, The Giver asks him why he arrived late. He explains that the sight of Fiona's hair startled him for a moment. The Giver explains that Jonas has seen a memory of the color red, and that before there was Sameness, everyone saw in color.
The discovery that everyone sees in black and white reveals just how limited and numb the community is. The community's visual handicap serves as a metaphor for their deeper lack of compassion, knowledge, and understanding.
Jonas wonders why the community would want to get rid of the color red, which is so beautiful. The Giver responds that the community had to give up some things in order to gain control of others. When Jonas says that the community should not have made such a choice, The Giver tells him that he is gaining wisdom.
Because they both have the gift of memory, Jonas and The Giver agree that the community made a mistake in instituting Sameness. But now, unlike The Giver, will Jonas take action to try to change that?
The Giver explains that Fiona's hair is unlike other people's hair—just as Jonas's eyes are different from other people's eyes—because genetic scientists have still not mastered Sameness well enough to ensure that everyone looks the same. Then The Giver gives Jonas a memory of a rainbow to show him the variety of colors.
The revelation that Sameness has not been perfected means other flaws may exist in the community. Jonas is horrified that the community has been prevented from seeing beauty for the sake of Sameness.

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See quotes from Chapter 12