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CHAPTER SUMMARY WITH NOTES
Jonas thinks about a groupmate of his named Benjamin. He is impressed by Benjamin’s accomplishments. But, he has never told him. Complimenting someone is difficult. It is always hard for someone to discuss their accomplishments without breaking the rule against bragging.
Jonas finds his best friend, Asher, at the House of the Old. Jonas’s friend, Fiona, is also there. They are in the bathing room. They are both bathing the Old. Jonas knows what to do because he has worked there in the past. He takes an old woman, Larissa, to a tub and bathes her. It is acceptable to see the Old and newchildren naked.
Larissa tells Jonas about the Release celebration for Roberto, who formerly lived in the House of the Old. They told his whole life story. It was very interesting. She compares his life story to that of Edna, who was a Birthmother and later worked in Food Production. She was never allowed to be part of a family unit. Larrisa thinks that Edna’s life story was boring. Jonas wants to know more about the celebration. Larissa relates that after the telling of his life story, they had a toast and sang the anthem. Then it was Time for Roberto’s goodbye speech. Some who were there also gave good-bye speeches. Larissa tells Jonas that Roberto had been thrilled. Jonas asks her about the actual release. Where did Roberto go when he was released? He went through a door to the Releasing Room. She doesn’t know more than that. No one does, except probably the committee. Anyway, Roberto had been very happy as he went.
When reading Larissa’s description of Release, it sounds very pleasant. But Jonas is not satisfied with Larissa’s description. He wants to talk to someone who has actually seen, or possibly, experienced a release. We get the feeling that he wants to continue asking questions and investigating the subject. And, we hope that he does, because we are also curious.
Bathing the Old allows Jonas to experience a human closeness that he usually is not allowed to experience. He will retain the memory of closeness and it will affect what he does in the future.
The care that is given to newchildren seems to be a good aspect of the community and so does the care that the Old receive.