Jonas learns that his community's standards do not give citizens the perfect life they imagine. While everyone is spared from pain, physical and otherwise, Jonas comes to understand that they sacrifice a great deal for that relative comfort. They don't have a true sense of family, completely cut off from not only their biological parents but also from any sense of ancestry. They spend a great deal of time and effort teaching children to use appropriate language, as evidenced by Asher's reprimands when he is young, but Jonas comes to understand that they have no real understanding of many of the words they use, believing many animals to be as fictional as unicorns and that the word love is not a precise form of using language. When he learns of love himself, he enjoys the feeling so much that he asks his parents that evening if they love him:
"Your father means that you used a very generalized word, so meaningless that it's become almost obsolete," his mother explained carefully.
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