The next morning at the daily Dream-telling, Jonas relates a dream that he had. In the dream, he was standing by a tub without his tunic. Fiona was there and he was trying to talk her into getting into the tub so that he could bathe her. Father asks him what he felt. He felt a strong wanting. They do not discuss it further. After Father and Lily leave with Gabriel, Mother sits down and tells Jonas that his dream was his first Stirrings. He should start taking a pill for them. Jonas remembers that Mother and Father both must take a pill every day also. He remembers hearing announcements that Stirrings should be reported immediately so that they can be treated. Mother tells him that he must not forget to take one of the pills every day. In answer to a question, Mother tells Jonas that he will need to take them until he goes to the House of the Old.


Sexual feelings are not allowed in Jonas's community. But, they are not tinged with shame as in many societies that try to control them. Sex is dealt with in a simple, matter-of-fact way, like one would deal with a headache.

The reason that sex is frowned on by the community is because it tends to create close relationships between people. If people became close to other people, they might put the good of those people ahead of the good of the community as a whole. The community would suffer as a consequence.



It is finally time for the Ceremony. It will last two days. It is an important occasion. Parents have two days off from work. First, the newchildren are given to their parents and given their names. The Twelves will be last.

One of the newchildren is a replacement for another earlier child with the same name, Caleb, who was lost. When the earlier child was lost, the community took part in the Ceremony of Loss. During that ceremony, the lost child's name was repeated over and over, each repetition a little quieter, each interval a little longer until, supposedly, the memory of the child faded. Now the opposite is occurring. During the Murmur-of-Replacement Ceremony, the name is first heard as a low, slow murmur, and, over time, is repeated faster and louder.

Another of the newchildren is given the name Roberto, the name that belonged to the man Larissa in the House of the Old knew before he was released.

Later during that first day of the Ceremony, Lily becomes an Eight. But Jonas and the other Elevens have to wait until the afternoon of the second day to become Twelves.

During the midday break, Jonas thinks about how well-ordered the community is. This makes him more confident that he will be given the right Assignment. As an example of how carefully things are done, the Matching of Spouses can take years. And after the match is announced, the couple is monitored for three years before they can receive a child.


The real birthdays of the children were not celebrated. That was not the way of the community. That would draw attention to them as individuals, something best not done. Instead, there was a celebration for everyone born during a year.

The Ceremony of Loss served the same purpose as the pills to ward off the Stirrings. They were used to limit emotion.

The community seemed to believe that one child could replace another, like, if you wreck your car, you buy a replacement.

By a committee naming the newchildren, it was assured that there would not be two people with the same name in the community at the same time. That would cause confusion. When someone was released, their name became available for use again.

Cite this page:

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