In The Giver by Lois Lowry, how do other communities differ?

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thanatassa | College Teacher | (Level 3) Educator Emeritus

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The Giver by Lois Lowry is a children's book describing the coming of age of the protagonist Jonas in an imaginary society. This society is a completely regulated one in which every child, at the age of twelve, is assigned a fixed career suited to his or her abilities and interests. As we read the novel, we gradually become aware of the degree to which the society is restrictive and the limitations of the social and moral codes. Although most people seem happy and content, it is at a great expense, including the euthanization of all people who in some way do not fit the social norms. Societies and places outside this community or before this community took its present shape are collectively referred to as "Elsewhere", and have the characteristics that readers would consider "normal", including a greater degree of personal freedom, greater breadth of experience, wider ranges of emotions, warfare, starvation, bad weather, pain, etc. Essentially, the "Elsewhere" of the novel is what we would consider normal twenty-first century society.


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shmindle | Student, Grade 11 | (Level 2) Honors

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In the community Jonas lives in, everything is controlled by the Elders.  There is no such thing as color, music, love, etc. all to prevent jealousy, hunger, and war upon many other things.  Elsewhere is the land beyone the community.  While there is warmth, color, and music in Elsewhere, there is also poverty, hunger, and violence.  To the community, Elsewhere represents death.  When a person is "released" or dies, they are sent to Elsewhere. *spoiler alert* Even the book gives it an ambiguous meaning, as it is up to personal opinion to decide whether Jonas is dead or not after he slides down the hill to reach Elsewhere. 

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