In The Giver, Jonas’s anxiety about Fritz getting his bicycle shows us what about this community?

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Jonas’s reaction to Fritz getting his bicycle shows that his society is very intolerant of mistakes. 

The community is very intolerant of difference.  They are also very strict about rules and social conventions.  Things are done a certain way, and anyone who is a little bit different is brought into line as stringently as possible.  We get small examples of this throughout the book, with public scoldings about taking food home or having hair ribbons untied being routine.  With the discussion of Fritz, we see how deep this behavior goes. 

He knew that his parents cringed a little, as he did, when Fritz, who lived in the dwelling next door to theirs, received his bike and almost immediately bumped into the podium with it.  Fritz was a very awkward child who had been summoned for chastisement again and again. (Ch. 6) 

Jonas considers it completely normal to treat Fritz this way, punishing him because he is awkward.  It is similar to the story we hear later about how Asher was beaten as a toddler for using the wrong word.  Conformity is the ultimate goal, and children are socialized from a young age to not only accept it but enforce it.  Thus Jonas looks down on Fritz. 

Fritz is only nine years old, but he already has a reputation.  Not only that, but the community looks down on his parents too.  For Fritz to be this much of a screw-up, clearly they are doing something wrong.  A parent’s job is to indoctrinate the children to the community’s values. 

His transgressions were small ones, always: shoes on the wrong feet, schoolwork misplaced, failure to study adequately for a quiz. But each such error reflected negatively on his parents' guidance and infringed on the community's sense of order and success. (Ch. 6) 

It is chilling how Jonas dismisses Fritz as infringing on the order of the community when he is acting as most nine year olds would.  In Jonas’s world, perfection is not just aimed for, it is expected.  Anything less than perfection is punished out of people from an early age.  If this does not succeed, there is always release.

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