In The Giver, which books are allowed in every household? Do they have a dictionary?

Expert Answers

An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

When Jonas initially enters the Annex to begin his training session, he is astonished to discover the Giver's extensive book collection. Jonas mentions that in his own dwelling, there are only a few "reference volumes," which include a dictionary, a community volume, and a Book of Rules. In the community volume, there is a description of every building, office, factory, and committee in the community. Jonas is only familiar with the several books in his dwelling and had never known any other books existed. Since Jonas's community is founded on Sameness, individuality is suppressed and literature is tightly regulated. The dictionary is a particularly significant book because the community places such importance on specific language. The Book of Rules is also significant in Jonas's community given the highly regulated nature of his society. Unlike the rest of the community, the Giver has access to any type of literature and possesses historically relevant books, which contribute to his wisdom and understanding.

Approved by eNotes Editorial Team

Posted on

An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

Yes, they have a dictionary.  This is probably a result of their belief in the importance of having precise use of language.  Though, we can probably assume that their dictionary is different than the ones you have access to today.  For example, I wonder if their dictionary has emotional words in it?  Or if it accurately portrays those emotions?  What about words like war, or peace, or violence?  Possibly not included.  The households in the community are allowed to have books created by the community, such as the dictionary and a rule/guidebook.  But they do not have access to literary works; only the Giver has these.  Again, this is probably to prevent them from understanding too much about what their world could be like, if it were run differently.  For the Giver, literature helps him to understand the emotions and memories he receives; but for other people, this might cause confusion and/or distress.

Approved by eNotes Editorial Team

Posted on

Soaring plane image

We’ll help your grades soar

Start your 48-hour free trial and unlock all the summaries, Q&A, and analyses you need to get better grades now.

  • 30,000+ book summaries
  • 20% study tools discount
  • Ad-free content
  • PDF downloads
  • 300,000+ answers
  • 5-star customer support
Start your 48-Hour Free Trial