Father brings Gabriel home. Jonas sees that Gabe has pale eyes like he does. Jonas knows that few members of the community have pale eyes. Jonas once noticed a female Five with pale eyes. Most people have dark eyes. Lily breaks a rule by mentioning the difference. Differences are considered to be unsettling and that is not good. Then Lily suggests that perhaps Jonas and Gabe had the same Birthmother. After looking at Gabe, Jonas decides that pale eyes give one's looks depth.

Observing the newcomer, Lily decides that she wants to be a Birthmother someday. Mother cautions her. But a Ten told Lily about the Birthing Center at which the Ten sometimes volunteers. The Birthmothers are given good meals and only do gentle exercise. They have a lot of free time. Mother explained that the good life only lasts three years while they are producing three babies. After that, Birthmothers become Laborers until they enter the House of the Old.

Father tells Lily that Birthmothers never even get to see their babies. He suggests that, if she likes babies, a good Assignment for her would be Nurturer.

Jonas thinks to himself that a good Assignment for Lily would be Speaker. Speakers are the ones whose voices are heard on the loudspeakers. They remind everyone about rules that have been broken. They don't say the offending person's name, but the person and everyone else know anyway.

Jonas thinks back to a day when a loudspeaker announcement was directed at him. Against the rules, he had taken home an apple. Jonas remembers the day it happened. He had been playing catch with Asher. Jonas was surprised when, in midair, the apple had changed in a puzzling way. This happened four times, always when the apple was in midair. But, when he examined the apple in his hands, the apple was not changed. He took it home to study some more. But, he never understood what had happened.


This chapter brings to our attention the way that families are not blood relatives. This chapter tells us how children are taken from their mothers at birth and raised by strangers. The Birthmothers have no claim to their babies. This is a very cruel way for a seemingly caring society to operate. We now see that perhaps this community is not as compassionate as we earlier thought that it was. What other shocking things will we soon discover?

Jonas's eye color is unusual within the community. So is the ability that he starts to discover when he notices the change in the apple.

Cite this page:

Clapsaddle, Diane. "TheBestNotes on A Long Way Gone".