Compare China's One Child policy to the child policy in The Giver. What is the purpose of this rule in the book? Do you think this rule makes sense? 

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mwestwood eNotes educator| Certified Educator

China's one-child policy was enacted in 1980 as part of an effort to control population growth and to alleviate social, economic and environmental problems. Since its enactment, the life span of the average person in China has greatly increased (going from the average of 35 years of age to 65 years). Nowadays the policy is not as strictly enforced as it was at its inception. As of 2013, parents are allowed have another child if one of the parents is an only child, or if the first is disabled mentally or physically. Parents in rural areas are allowed more children, but the urban areas that are so crowded prohibit more than two children. 

Since population growth was such a massive problem for the society's survival, the Chinese policy was enacted. But in The Giver, in a pre-designed world, there are no environmental or economic problems. Thus, motive for limitations upon the number of children is more preventive than problem-solving; it is part of the controlling mechanism of the dystopian society. People must apply for spouses and be deemed appropriate for married life; then, after three years, they can apply for children, but they are only given them and are not allowed to procreate themselves. Moreover, the babies are not apportioned to parents until they are Ones (one year old), a condition that eliminates the close nurturing of mother and baby.

The rule about children is in line with the ideology of the society in which Jonas and others live; that is, it prioritizes the elimination of emotional ties and emotional, sexual, and other physical feelings of any depth or distinction. The residents have had their humanity sterilized and placed under strict controls so as to maintain a "civilized" and contented populace. Human bonds are made for purely practical reasons, those that keep the society intact. It is a sterile and pain-free world in which human warmth is limited and passion subdued. However, by eliminating pain, this new world has also eliminated the joys of love and sensuality. Moreover, when children are doled out like rations, how can there exist the parent-child bond that forges a person's soul?

Jonas remembered that his mother had called it a job without honor. But...she would enjoy the three years of being pampered that would follow her brief training; she would give birth easily and well; and the task of Laborer that would follow would use her strength....

Birth mothers are reduced to nothing more than brood mares or chickens who are used for a time to hatch eggs into other chickens.

Sometimes the cure is worse than the symptoms and the "decontaminated" society of The Giver sentences its occupants to less than human existences, as they are devoid of genuine and deep feelings. China's population control policy does not separate parents from their own children; mothers birth their own children and show them all the emotional feelings that are natural. Families exist in the natural order.