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What is the role of the mother in The Giver?

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kami-barnes | Student, Grade 9

Posted October 28, 2010 at 7:00 AM via web

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What is the role of the mother in The Giver?

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litteacher8 | Middle School Teacher | (Level 1) Distinguished Educator

Posted February 2, 2011 at 2:57 AM (Answer #1)

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Parents do not play the same role in Jonas’s community as they do in ours.  In our world, adults choose their spouses based on love and decide whether to have children.  In Jonas’s world, adults apply for spouses that are then selected by committee.  The relationships are designed entirely for the purpose of raising children.  Adults apply for children, raise them, and then separate.

Jonas’s mother does not love him the way mothers are supposed to in our world.  Love does not exist in the community.  Parents care for their children, and enjoy spending time with them.  This is not the same as love.  Parents serve as more of a teacher or guide.  Their role is to teach the children they raise how to behave in the community, and to ensure that they are raised without feelings.

In the story, Jonas’s mother and father both serve as a window for the reader into the system of justice employed in the community.  She works for the Department of Justice as a sort of judge.  She is responsible for determining the punishments of people who break the community’s rules.  For example, anyone who breaks three rules is released (killed).  Similarly, through Jonas’s father we learn how babies are raised and that babies who do not meet developmental requirements are also released.

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