As they leave the auditorium, all the new Twelves feel different. They will no longer be studying school lessons. Now they will be learning how to perform their new assignments. The one who feels changed the most is Jonas. He was told that he will be apart from the others when he trains. But, already he feels alone and different. People treat him differently now, like he is special. This different treatment and the mystery of what exactly is ahead for him cause Jonas to be uneasy.

At home, after being complimented by his parents on his selection as the new Receiver, Jonas asks them about the earlier Receiver, the failed one. His parents are hesitant. But, they tell him that the earlier Receiver was a female. But, her name cannot be spoken ever again. Jonas knows that the designation Not-to-be-Spoken is a great disgrace. He is told that the female just disappeared.

When he returns to his room and opens the folder with instructions for his new assignment he finds that there is only one page. Jonas knows that some Twelves with other Assignments received thick folders. The instructions tell him that he is not to go anywhere between school and home except to the old Receiver. He can ask anyone any question, even if it is rude, and expect an answer. He is not to discuss his training or his dreams with anyone else, not even his parents. He cannot apply for medication related to his training. He cannot apply for release. He can now lie.

That final instruction stuns Jonas even more than the others. He can now lie! He was taught not to lie, not even unintentionally. The possibility of lying unintentionally is a reason for the emphasis on precision of speech. And, now suddenly he can lie. He begins to wonder if any other Twelves have ever received such an instruction. If he asks someone if they can lie and they say that they cannot, he won't know if they are telling the truth or if they are lying because they have been told that they can.


It is always important to members of the community that they not stand out. It is the same with Jonas. He is uncomfortable with his newly acquired difference from the rest of the community, from his family and friends. Adjusting to it will require some time.

When the community fails at something they no longer talk about it, as they are doing with the failed Receiver. There is no discussion of ways to change or possible alternative strategies. The solution to a problem is to simply no longer mention it.

Jonas will probably have trouble trusting people in the future. Now that he has been told that he can lie he has no way of knowing who else can lie.

Cite this page:

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