The author makes the community seem different by using common words in different ways. Here are some examples:

A "Newchild" is an infant. A Birthmother is a woman who gives birth to a newchild. The newchild is immediately taken from the Birthmother. He or she goes immediately to the Nurturing Center to be cared for by Nurturers.

A Comfort Object is a stuffed animal that, as its name implies, is given to a newchild to comfort him or her.

A Bike Port is a place used to park a bicycle.

Volunteer Hours are temporary jobs performed by children. These help the children to develop their skills and help the Elders to find out what job would be most appropriate for each child when they receive their Assignment as a Twelve.

The House of the Old is where the Old live when they no longer contribute to the community. At the end of each person's stay there, a Ceremony of Release takes place.


Fifty children are born each year. Each newchild is assigned a number and stays in the Nurturing Center until the December after her/his birth.

The first December after birth, each newchild is given a name in addition to the number assigned at birth. Each child is also assigned a family and is called a One. The group of children born each year stays together. The group is promoted each year to the next age group.

The third December, when the newchildren become Threes, their training in the correct usage of words begins. At this time, each child begins to take part in their family's morning analysis of the previous night's dreams.

The fourth December, when the children become Fours, they wear jackets that button in the back. This ends the seventh December, when the children become Sevens. At that time they begin wearing jackets that button in the front. Then, the eighth December, when the children become Eights, they receive jackets with pockets and with smaller buttons.

The eighth December, when the children become Eights, the comfort objects that were given to them in the Nurturing Center are taken away and Volunteer Hours, which will continue until they are Elevens, begin. Volunteer Hours take place daily. During Volunteer Hours the children develop skills and find their occupational interests.

The ninth December, when the children become Nines, they are given bicycles to ride. During the previous year they had to get to their Volunteer Hours without a bicycle. The ninth December is when Girls stop wearing hair ribbons.

The tenth December is when the children become Tens. This is when their hair is cut. The eleventh December is when the children become Elevens. Girls get new undergarments. Boys get long pants. Both boys and girls receive calculators. They are observed throughout this year at school, play, and Volunteer Hours by the Elders who will decide what their Assignments will be.

The twelfth December is when the children become Twelves. This is the beginning of their adult lives. This is when children are assigned a career. Assignments are received at the December ceremony. This is the first time that differences between children are celebrated. Training for the Assignments begins and schooling continues.

Cite this page:

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