Why is sameness a good thing for society in The Giver?

Expert Answers
litteacher8 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The community in the book has chosen Sameness because they do not ever want anyone to be uncomfortable.  Everyone follows the rules, and everyone does the same things.  People don’t have individual identities, but they don’t have social problems either.  People who commit three infractions are killed.  There is no overpopulation, because no one has their own children.  There is no emotion, no love, and no memory.  There are no good emotions, but there are also no bad emotions.

Although there are few differences, they keep enough individuality amongst the people to avoid confusion.  Consider Jonas’s explanation of why there can’t be identical twins in the community.

"Well, they can't have two identical people around! Think how confusing it would be!" Jonas chuckled. (ch 19, p. 146)

Sameness also means no love.  When Jonas asks his parents if they love him, they scold him for not using precise language.

There was an awkward silence for a moment. Then Father gave a little chuckle. "Jonas. You, of all people. Precision of language, please!" (ch 16, p. 127)

Amusement is the last reaction Jonas expected when he asked that question, but he realized at this point that his parents have no concept of love.  A society without love is dehumanized.  Jonas cannot stand it, so he leaves—hoping to return the memories to the people and bring about change.

Lowry, Lois (1993-04-26). The Giver (Newbery Medal Book) (p. 146). Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. Kindle Edition.

gmuss25 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Sameness is the idea that everything and anything that interferes with a citizen's safety and comfort should become obsolete, and is represented in Louis Lowry's utopian society. Sameness is a result of climate control and the committee's decisions to eliminate painful experiences from society through rigorous changes to the environment and social structure of the community. Conformity, predictability, and compliance are hallmarks of Sameness, which create a stable, comfortable, safe environment for each citizen.

Despite the stability and absence of pain and unpredictability in citizens' lives, individual freedoms are compromised. Citizens also lack emotional depth and knowledge of society, and completely sacrifice their independence to live safely. Jonas becomes upset after discovering that his parents have absolutely no concept of love or despair. The citizens also live relatively mundane lives as they go to work, attend community functions, and enjoy time with their selected family members. Freedom of choice is an abstract concept, which Jonas believes should be allowed in society. Overall, Sameness has its positive and negative qualities. One must acknowledge that life with Sameness is safe and relatively comfortable, but is definitely not exciting or fun. Many people would rather enjoy their personal freedoms and risk their health instead of being forced to conform to society's standards.  

newbridge054 | Student

I think it makes it easier for decisions to be made.With everyone having the same opinion,little time is wasted on debates,hence increasing productivity.