Since our world allows for free choice, we will always have change. One of the first steps to eliminating change is to eliminate choice, because choice leads to change. In The Giver, they have eliminated change by controlling everything everyone says and does through s system of rules and guidelines that most of us would find stifling. There are many societies where this kind of suppression does take place, however, and in those societies change will only occur when people can overthrow the mantle of oppression.
Our world is based on change. Especially in our fast paced society, we expect things to change quickly and constantly. Information flows at our fingertips, the internet streaming news stories, fashion tips, entertainment, etc. We can tell that things are changing just by looking around us. Everywhere you look things are moving and changing. Jonas' society is all about trying to control and make everything the same. Change happens, but on a small scale. Yes, children get older and graduate from one year to the next, but all of the change in Jonas' society is carefully controlled. There is nothing out of the ordinary and nothing explosive. Everything moves slowly and carefully, and missteps are dealt with quickly and corrected. As mentioned in previous posts, acceptance of change allows us to grow and develop into something different. Jonas' society does not embrace change, and therefor will never develop.
I agree with mkcapen1: the world in which The Giver is set is all about trying to maintain the status quo - the civilisation is trapped inside a bubble or a stasis and is not allowed to develop. There are a series of rules that must be enforced and there is no opportunity to "go against the flow". A scary place, when you look at the history of mankind and see just how important change is to society and us as a species. If we are not allowed to change and develop, Darwin would say, we would not exist. Changes are easy to identify - just think how your own life has changed since you were little. We can see some changes that creep up on us gradually, such as the role of technology in our lives and how this has increased, and then there are big, cataclysmic changes that have far-reaching consequences, such as the bombing of the two towers or the fall of the iron curtain. Change definitely is uncomfortable and can bring suffering, but it is part of what makes us human - making Jonas' society profoundly unhuman.
Change within a society usually happens generationally. So, as an adult (which as a college sophomore you are) look at what your childhood years were like compared to kids today. I bet you weren't running around with a cell phone in 6th grade texting during class like kids do today at that age. Ask your parents, and then grandparents what 6th grade communication was like. I think you will find 4 distinctly different experiences with some strains of human struggle and triumph being timeless and ever-present. Societal change impacted by technology is easy to pinpoint. Understanding its effects is another thing because time needs to go by for research and results to occur.
Society changes with issues of morality. You can even see these by watching different television series from different eras. Take a look at All in the Family from the 70s and early 80s. Compare it to the newest drama Parenthood or Modern Family. You will see a stark contrast in issues presented.
Within a community (a microcosm of society), you most likely only see significant change with a dramatic event, or series of them.
Haiti is going through significant change right now.
One very effective way to tell if there have been changes in our society and communities is by talking with people who have been there for a while. Elderly people are a great resource because they have seen many things change over time. They can tell you how things really used to be and what has happened that has changed. They can give you real life examples.
Another way is by reading books or viewing public documents. If you want to see how a particular community has changed you can go to the library and view public records from different time periods and make a chart noting those differences over time.
I am not at all sure what you are asking... maybe you can clarify.
It seems obvious to me that we have lots of change in our society. Anyone who has lived in one place long enough can see the community change. So can anyone who goes back to someplace they used to live after a long time away.
Similarly, anyone who has lived long enough or knows history can see change in our whole society. For example, attitudes towards gay people have changed a great deal since I was a kid. So have racial attitudes. For that matter, so has technology.
So we can easily see change, but I'm not sure if that's really what you're asking.
If you are doing a comparison-contrast of our society versus the one in the book The Giver, there are some significant things that demonstrate the differences that show change. In the book the community was based on no change. The people all dressed the same, worked on the pre-set schedules, and had no choice in the jobs or careers. Even the people's families were established by the council of elders.
In our society we have colors. The color palette changes al the time based on popularity. Just today I was looking at the newest made colors with the intent on painting my granddaughter's room. There was no color variation in the book.
Climate changes all the time. Our world is faced with Global Warming and other serious weather conditions that alter life as people know it. Just look at the events of Hurricane Katrina and the damaging changes that occurred as a result. Houses were demolished and whole communities of people had to move away to different states and start life over among new people and new circumstances.
Human existence is about change. The human being himself is in a constant state of emotional and physical change which is evident by how one responds to different events in one's life, ones weight fluctuations, illness' attacks the body and the body system goes into a response pattern, and one responds to experiences of death or violence.
The best way to tell if we have changes to our society is through retrospective analysis. That process allows one to analyze how things were done in a previous time compared to how things are done in a different time. If they are different, then changes have been made. Retrospective analysis does not allow us to say that one time period is better or worse, just the fact that we do things differently.
Community changes can be revealed through oral tradition of how things were done before. If older people have stories or any thing to say about the way a life was before, then there have been community changes.