Calculate how the past famine and war may have contributed to the community’s structure.

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In chapter 14, Jonas asks the Giver why he must possess the community's difficult memories, and the Giver responds by briefly explaining to Jonas the importance of having wisdom of the past to advise the Committee of Elders to make the right decisions. The Giver then tells Jonas that centuries ago, the population had grown so large that food became scarce and people began to starve. As a result of the widespread starvation, citizens took up arms and engaged in warfare.

The Giver is the only citizen in the community who recalls this terrible time and advises the Committee of Elders not to increase the rate of births per year. Essentially, the community's past struggles concerning overpopulation and food shortages influence the way their society is presently structured. In Jonas's community, only fifty children are born each year, which keeps the population low and maintains a stable, comfortable society. The citizens do not have to worry about overpopulation or having food shortages when the rate of births is strictly regulated.

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The Giver explained to Jonas that centuries before, there was a famine:

"The population had gotten so big that hunger was everywhere.  Excruciating hunger and starvation.  It was followed by warfare."

The reader can assume that this grim situation described by The Giver led to the strict rules of the Community.  In the Community, everything is closely regulated.  One of the things that is regulated is the Community's population.  Centuries before, the population had become so large that there was not enough food.  In the Community, birthmothers are the only people who can have babies.  These children are then assigned to parents.  The population cannot grow unintentionally because of this system.  Because of this, there is always enough food.  Also, because of sameness there is no war.  All of the other neighboring communities also have similar rules for sameness.

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