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What is "Sameness" in The Giver?

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user5600766 | eNotes Newbie

Posted October 18, 2013 at 7:34 PM via web

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What is "Sameness" in The Giver?

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

Posted October 18, 2013 at 9:15 PM (Answer #1)

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Sameness is total control over everything in order to make it the same.

The government in The Giver wants total control over everyone and everything.  They feel that it is necessary to keep everyone comfortable, and being comfortable is the most important thing to these people.

In addition to enforcing social rules to make sure everyone dresses alike, has the same haircut, and has only the job and family that the community elders decide they need.  However, the technological advances allow the community to avoid divergent hair colors and eye colors too.  They can even control the weather.

"Climate Control. Snow made growing food difficult, limited the agricultural periods. And unpredictable weather made transportation almost impossible at times. It wasn't a practical thing, so it became obsolete when we went to Sameness.” (Ch. 11, pp. 83-84)

The darker side of Sameness is that when people have to be the same, those who are different are targeted.  When identical twins are born, they are weighed and the lighter one is released, which means killed.  The community values avoiding confusion so much that it is willing to kill infants, but that is not common knowledge.  When Jonas realizes it, he is so upset that he makes plans to leave the community.

The sins that are done in the name of Sameness are a good example of why utopias often turn into dystopias.  A perfect world is not so perfect when you are killing babies in the name of keeping people comfortable.  Differences should be celebrated, not feared.  They are part of what makes us human. 

Lowry, Lois (1993-04-26). The Giver (Newbery Medal Book). Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. Kindle Edition.

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