In The Giver, what is the difference between an annex and a dwelling?
In Lois Lowry's The Giver, the community doesn't call their homes "houses," they call them "dwellings." People don't live with their blood relatives because people are scientifically placed together for maximum effectiveness of rearing children. For example, parents are not in love with each other. They are placed together as if they were business partners given the duty to raise children who will obey the rules of the community. Hence, the word "dwelling" seems to create a more business-like sound to it than the emotionally charged word "home." Furthermore, the dwellings are all the same around the community in order to represent Sameness, the philosophy upon which the society exists.
An annex is an additional section of building added to an already existing one. The Giver lives in an annex, or addition, to the House of the Old. In chapter 10, Fiona and Jonas are reporting to their assignments and Fiona goes in the front door of the House of the Old. Jonas heads around back to the annex, or the newer addition to the building which happens to be living quarters for the Receiver of Memory. The evidence is as follows:
"Jonas nodded, waved to her, and headed around the building toward the Annex, a small wing attached to the back. He certainly didn't want to be late for his first day of training. . ." (72).
In The Giver, the citizens of the community live in "dwellings," while the Giver lives in the Annex, which is located behind the House of the Old. The dwellings are the homes where citizens live, and each is decorated in the same general manner. The furniture in each dwelling is standard, and there are no novels or pieces of art that adorn the walls. The furniture in each dwelling is considered functional, and Lowry implies that the inside of the dwellings are rather mundane and dull—like everything else in the community.
In chapter 10, Jonas visits the Annex on his first day working with the Giver. The Annex is a small wing attached to the back of the House of the Old, and the outside is described as being "unremarkable." There is also a buzzer on the wall that Jonas hits in order to walk into the lobby, in which an attendant is waiting for him. The attendant then unlocks a door to the left, which leads to the Giver's dwelling. Inside the Annex, Jonas is astonished to see the numerous books on the walls, the fancy furniture, and rich fabrics and upholstery. Jonas is impressed with the decorative, luxurious nature of the Annex and is amazed at the difference between the Giver's living quarters and the community dwellings.