What is different about the way children are born and infants are cared for in the community in The Giver?
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Children are born from birthmothers and cared for in family units with a mother, father and sibling that they are not related to.
Children in the community do not come from the kind of families we are used to in our world. Rather than be related to their children, parents are two adults matched by the Elders and placed with one boy and one girl. Newchildren are born to birthmothers, who carry and deliver babies as their job only, at the Birthing Center. They do not raise the babies. The babies are raised by Nurturers in the Nurturing Center. Jonas’s father is a Nurturer, and he explains the process.
"[The] Birthmothers never even get to see newchildren. If you enjoy the little ones so much, you should hope for an Assignment as Nurturer." (ch 3, p. 22)
The children are raised by two parents, but there is no affection. There is no such thing as “love” in the community. Each family unit consists of the two parents and two children only until the children become adults, and then the family unit disbands and the parents go to live in the home for Childless Adults. They pay little attention to each other after that.
The lack of emotion in Jonas’s world means that everyone is the same, and no one ever has to feel pain of any kind. However, because they do not want to feel bad emotions they end up feeling no emotions, including good ones like love and belonging.
Lowry, Lois (1993-04-26). The Giver (Newbery Medal Book). Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. Kindle Edition.
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