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Why is it so difficult to get rules changed in the community in "The Giver"?

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winston21 | Student, Grade 9 | eNotes Newbie

Posted January 1, 2009 at 8:25 AM via web

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Why is it so difficult to get rules changed in the community in "The Giver"?

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dymatsuoka | (Level 1) Distinguished Educator

Posted January 1, 2009 at 3:15 PM (Answer #1)

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When citizens want to change a rule, the matter is sent to a committee for study, although when this does happen "the people always (joke) about it".  The bureaucracy of the community is such that it seems "the committee members would become Elders by the time the rule change (is) made"; more often than not, the committee "would simply fret and argue about (the issue)...for years, until the citizens forgot that it had ever gone to them for study".

The inefficiency of the committee system masks the fact that, in reality, the people have little say in what happens in the society.  Individuals may believe that their desires and opinions are important because they do seem to have an avenue by which they can have their opinions heard and considered, but in practice, that avenue is useless - it almost always leads to a dead end.  It would appear that the committee system exists mainly to palliate the people, to make them feel that they have some control in the workings of their government and in determining the course of their lives.  Practically speaking, however, it is clear that the society is run by a totalitarian power, and that what the people may want is of little consequence (Chapter 2).

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