How does Jonas's Assignment affect other people's ability to make choices in The Giver?

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Lois Lowry’s The Giver is about a dystopian totalitarian society where nearly everything is decided by a committee. People have essentially been stripped of free will, and the society dictates what a person can (and will) do as an adult. Jonas is the protagonist of the book. When Jonas receives his Assignment, it becomes clear that his role affects—or even helps eliminate—other people's ability to make choices.

There are strict rules guiding everyday life, and many of the rules are overly restrictive. There are also strict punishments for people who violate these rules: people who break them repeatedly and have three transgressions face the consequence of "release."

Over the course of the novel, Jonas begins to recognize how harsh the rules are, and he realizes how constraining the society is. Jonas's Assignment is to apprentice with the Receiver, who “was the most important Elder.” At the ceremony where Assignments are announced, it is clear that Jonas has been singled out for a special Assignment:

"Jonas has not been assigned," she informed the crowd, and his heart sank.

Then she went on. "Jonas has been selected…"

"Jonas has been selected to be our next Receiver of Memory."

Jonas begins to recognize how constrictive the society is and how it essentially eliminates any human individuality or autonomy. As the future Receiver of Memory, Jonas alone will remember “memories of the past." This includes memories of the community in the days before the rules were constructed and enforced and all the things that are now taboo to the community.

By stripping people of their memories, inculcating them at an early age about the importance of following the rules and reinforcing this through the artificially constructed family unit, people have had their ability to make choices for themselves taken away. Eventually, however, Jonas decides to rebel, leave the community and seek “Elsewhere”—a foreign place where people still have choices.

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