In The Giver by Lois Lowry, what are five rules of the community in which Jonas lives?

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Lorraine Caplan eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The Giver (Lowry) is a story about a community that is kept in order with many rules and few choices.  We learn about some of these in the first few chapters, even on the very first page.  Let's go over five of them.

First, this is a community in which it is against the rules for a pilot to fly an airplane overhead.  We learn, in fact, that a pilot who does so is released, and while we don't know exactly what that means, we are privy to Jonas' thoughts, that this is "...a terrible punishment, an overwhelming statement of failure" (Lowry 3).

Second, there is a rule in school that requires students to apologize publicly if they are late.  Jonas' friend Asher is late for school and he must stand up at his seat to tell his classmates he is sorry for "inconveniencing my learning community" (3).

Third, there are rules governing the justice dispensed in the community when people break the rules.  Jonas' mother, who works for the Department of Justice, must follow the sentencing rules. She must release those who have violated the rules a third time, whether she wants to or not. At this point, we still do not know what release is, but we do know the very idea of it makes Jonas shiver.

Fourth, there is a rule regarding the naming of infants. They must not be named until it has been determined that they are to be kept and placed in a household.  Before that point, they are given numbers.  For example, Lily had been "Newchild Twenty-three" (13).  Remarkably, Jonas' father breaks this rule for a child he is nurturing, by giving him the name Gabe.

Fifth, the children in the community are not, by rule, permitted to ride bicycles until they are nine years old. This rule, though, is frequently broken, since older siblings are always helping younger siblings learn to ride before they are Nines. 

There are many more rules the community must adhere to in this story. These are just a few that the people must obey, a means of keeping the community under control in every facet of their lives, from public safety to the naming of children.