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Sameness is the fundamental goal of the powers that be in The Giver’s community. Everything about the society is geared toward uniformity. From the drugs given to youths at the onset of puberty, to the artificially structured family units and the control of language, every aspect of life is kept carefully in the neutral zone.
The drawbacks of sameness are seen through Jonas’s eyes when he becomes the receiver and begins to see things more truthfully, through the memories he receives. One of those drawbacks is the absence of love. If everyone is the same, and emotions are kept in check, there is no opportunity for love to grow. Nurturing of infants is done by professionals instead of parents. Old people are shipped off instead of being able to develop relationships with the younger generation. Parents are expected to minimize differences between their children, and the rules of society dictate every reaction, feeling and response allowed to them. All relationships are superficial.
Another drawback is that without differences there is little progress. Things stagnate as they are, because no one is allowed to excel in any particular area. Even though career selections are made according to interests, no one is allowed to pursue a passion or deviate from the already proscribed set of rules and expectations.
Beauty is denied the people of Jonas’s world. They are not able (or permitted) to see color. Landscapes are flattened and made uniform. Hair color, eye color and anything else that might differentiate someone as different or striking are controlled and made “the same.” The implication is that there has been a lot of genetic manipulation, though Jonas and Gabriel and a few others slip through the system with blue, not brown, eyes (perceived only as “light”). No one produces literature, art or music because both the object of those art forms and the creators of them would be deemed “different.”
A flat, neutral world where no one is ever sad, but no one is every happy either, is inhabited by “content” people living a numbed life without realizing what the alternatives really are.
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