How do people react to other individuals being different in The Giver?

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In Jonas's society that is founded on the principles of Sameness, individuality is not celebrated and citizens must conform in order to be functioning members of their austere community. It is considered impolite to comment on individual differences, which is why Jonas does not express his feelings regarding Gabriel's unique, pale eyes. Even individuals who excel at school or in their assignments are not celebrated and it is considered impolite to congratulate someone on their unique talents and accomplishments. Citizens are instructed to not draw attention to each other's differences and conditioned to function as an integral part of their larger community. Individuals are taught to conform at a young age and are punished if they do not progress along with their peers. When Asher was a child, he was subjected to corporal punishment for mispronouncing words and even stopped talking for a period of time to avoid beatings. The Giver explains to Jonas that the lack of independence and emphasis on conformity enable the community to function smoothly and remain stable and safe. Citizens are required to dress the same and expected to overlook their neighbor's specific differences.

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It was considered impolite to call attention to individual differences of those within the community.  Sameness was the ideal within the community.  Anything else was a negative thing, and it "was considered rude to call attention to things that were unsettling or different about individuals" (The Giver, Chapter 3).  To mention differences could "have fallen under that uncomfortable category of 'being different'" (Chapter 5).

For example, Jonas had pale eyes, while almost everyone else in the community had darker eyes.  The only others that Jonas knew with pale eyes were a younger girl and baby Gabriel, the newchild.  Yet no one mentioned this difference to him, so as not to be rude.

Later, Jonas noticed that Asher took a daily pill.  Jonas did not know why his friend took it.  He was curious, but he wanted to avoid being rude.  His desire to be polite led him to not say anything.

When Jonas became the Receiver of Memories, he became different.  His job was different than anyone else in the community.  People began distancing themselves from Jonas.

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