How does the Giver assist the Council of Elders in The Giver?

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During one of their training sessions, the Giver explains to Jonas that on rare occasions the Committee of Elders calls upon him for advice when they are making a difficult decision in an area where they have no experience or wisdom. In chapter 14, the Giver tells Jonas that before he was born, the Committee of Elders wanted to increase the birth rate in order to have more Laborers. With more Laborers, the Committee of Elders wished to expand the community by assigning Birthmothers to have four children instead of three. The inexperienced Committee of Elders lacked the wisdom to make such a significant decision and sought the Giver's advice. Fortunately, the Giver possessed the painful memories of starvation and hunger from the past, which were caused by overpopulation. The starvation then led to warfare, which is why the Giver advised against the committee's decision to increase the birth rate.

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In Ch. 13 the Giver explains to Jonas when and how he advises the Council of Elders.

"Rarely. Only when they are faced with something they have not experienced before. Then they call upon me to use the memories and advise them" (Ch.13).

Because the Council of Elders and everyone else in the community has no collective memory of their community's or world's past, they do not have the advantage of learning from past mistakes and using that wisdom to inform future decisions; therefore, they call upon the Giver to provide them with the context they might need. He can step in and share his advice based on that knowledge, without having to expose them to all of that knowledge. He does this when the plane flies into their air space and they want to shoot it down. He tells them that being hostile might lead to unintended consequences, including war and hunger.

He also travels to neighboring communities as well, when necessary, to advise them.


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