In The Giver, why are people all the same? How are differences treated?

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Jonas's community is established on the concept of Sameness, which is meant to eliminate individuality and ensure stability throughout society. Citizens in Jonas's community do not have the opportunity to exercise their independence, and they are essentially controlled by the Committee of Elders, who create marriages, assign occupations, and even determine the birthrate. The ruling officials felt that independence and spontaneity in life were detrimental to society and would result in chaos and instability. Therefore, citizens are required to dress the same and must obey the strict laws or risk being released. Citizens not only look the same but also share the same thoughts and pay careful attention to their use of language. Differences and individuality are not celebrated in the community, and citizens are subjected to harsh punishments if they do not conform, which is depicted by Asher's treatment as a child when he struggles to accurately pronounce words. Conformity is the defining feature of Sameness, and the absence of individuality makes the community perfectly stable, secure, and efficient.

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In the society where Jonas lives in The Giver, sameness is considered important.  When everyone is the same, the society has more order.  Acceptable behaviors are required rather than recommended.  Conformity is expected of the citizens.  

Differences are not accepted.  When children behave in a way that is considered unacceptable, they are corrected by their parents or teachers.  We see this when Lily says something unkind.  Asher had an especially difficult time when he was young with following the society's rules.  He often was the victim of the "discipline wand," which was a switch used for punishment by teachers.  This was his consequence for disobeying the rules.

If a person (be they a baby or an adult) has an especially difficult time conforming, they might be released.  This happens to some of the new children who cannot sleep through the night.

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