Discuss the advantages and disadvantages of "sameness" in The Giver.

Expert Answers
brendawm eNotes educator| Certified Educator

In The Giver, Lowry presents the reader with the idea of Sameness, which is just as the name suggests, the same for everyone.  The residents of Sameness are told who to marry, what to wear, how many children they can have, where to live, what to feel, and what job they will have; no matter how tempting it may sound to have all of these decisions made for you, and believe me, as an adult, it would sometimes be easier to have them made for you, I can not begin to imagine a society where I had no choice in any part of my life.  Think about it in terms of your own life; how would you feel in this situation.  As a teenager, life would be devastating to be controlled by others.  No video games, no color, no choice!  Surely the disadvantages are evident; the advantages are not as readily evident, other than the fact that you don't have to worry about the judgements of others about your clothes, shoes, etc.  Sameness would take many of the stressors out of everyday life.  It could reduce anxiety due to social differences and probably reduce prejudices, as well as certain social stigma. 

asorrell eNotes educator| Certified Educator

At one point in the novel, Jonas and the Giver are discussing Sameness.  Jonas says that he would like to have a choice in some thing for example he would like to choose the color of the tunic he wears (remember he can see color and others can't).  They discuss a few other fairly trivial things.  But then the scoff at the idea (and the chaos it would cause) of people being able to choose their mates or their jobs!

The community chooses Sameness because they believe that if everything is the same and people don't have any choices that bad things won't happen.  Now obviously the whole point of the book is to question this and as Jonas learns more and more, he comes to realize that his community is a disaster. 

The advantages would be that if everyone is the same, there won't be prejudice, etc.  But of course on the flip side of that is that there is no diversity. 

jenny444 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Jump start your response by writing a list of things that sameness, or equality, would affect even in our society: free health care, housing, and all the things mentioned by ladyvols1, and be sure to emphasize why these things would be positive.  Then write another list of examples from "The Giver" that show the benefits to their society, including things you agree would be an advantage (benefit), and that other characters felt lucky for. Go crazy brainstorming but remember to keep the details only relating to the benefits.

Depending on the length of response required (essay versus short answer), organize your information (lists) and pick three of the best examples of the benefits of sameness to a society, and try to use at least two examples directly from the book that support your claim.  You can do it!

ladyvols1 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The advantages of living in a society of sameness would be that there would be less stress.  Ideally there would be no poverty, no unemployment, no upper, middle, or lower class.  Everyone would have health-care, a home, enough to eat, and the same education.  There would be no competition, no struggle for jobs, and no personal choices.  Everything would be decided for each and every individual within the Utopian society.  We have the Amish, Mennonites, Quakers, and other religious groups that still strive for this utopia.

In the Giver, Jonas decided this was not as great as it sounds.

user4280394 | Student

Sameness is helpful because they don't allow you to make bad decisions, as everything is already planned out for you. There is also no competition, so there is no 'best' in anything.

Problems that sameness creates are there are no feelings, and the different people are targeted and killed as infants.

ik9744 | Student

If everything is the same they won't have the ability to be free, and choose what they want. The advantages is if you can't choose something you can't make bad decisions.

ammarsaeed9 | Student

In a society which is based on Sameness, everyone has to live according to the rules and cannot make their own decisions thus making their lives meaningless. We cannot ignore any rules. No can think as an individual and do what they like. In The Giver sameness makes the residents' lives peaceful without any fights over choices they have to make. Sameness means that there would be no colours and no choices thus creating none fights. But with sameness one cannot live, think and enjoy as an indivual, beacause if you choose sameness, you have to sacrifice freedom and individuality.