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CHAPTER SUMMARY WITH NOTES
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.