In The Giver, what is the discipline wand?

The discipline wand is a thin instrument used to discipline both the very young and very old when they have failed to conform to the expectations of this dystopian society.

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The discipline wand is described in chapter seven as assignments are being announced and Asher becomes the center of attention. Asher has a history of mixing up words, and precision of language is a carefully regulated system in Jonas's society. The Chief Elder jokes about how they had to use the discipline wand on Asher when he kept asking for a "smack" instead of a "snack" when he was a Three. Because he had asked for a smack, young Asher received one—with the discipline wand.

The discipline wand is then described as a "thin, flexible weapon that stung painfully when it was wielded." Children receive small, quick smacks across the hands for minor offenses and sharper smacks on the backs of bare legs for larger infractions.

The experience is seemingly painful and effective. Young Asher, traumatized because of his inability to articulate his needs as clearly as others his age, eventually began receiving painful lashes that left marks on his legs. Jonas recalls how his friend eventually "stopped talking altogether when he was a Three."

Later, in chapter twelve, Fiona tells Jonas that the discipline wand is also used on the old for "punishment for disobedience."

In short, the discipline wand is an instrument used to strike both the very young and very old when they have disobeyed expected rules of society. The fact that the elderly are treated much the same as young children is an indication of how little they are truly valued in this society once their years of productivity for the community have faded.

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