The Giver Questions and Answers
by Lois Lowry

The Giver book cover
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What does the society in The Giver value?  

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Gretchen Mussey eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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Jonas's community primarily values stability, conformity, and safety over everything else, which is why the Committee of Elders originally instituted Sameness. The community is founded on the principles of Sameness, which completely eliminate individual choice, dramatically alter the natural environment and landscape, and champion conformity. These principles were established to prolong the community and protect the population.

In Jonas's society, the Committee of Elders make every prominent decision in the citizens' lives to prevent conflict and stability from negatively impacting their community. The Committee of Elders determines the birth rate, matches spouses, creates family units, and chooses each person's occupation. Scientists have also dramatically altered the landscape to make travel more efficient and the natural environment less dangerous. There are also strict rules in Jonas's community to ensure conformity and suppress individuality. Language, clothing, and activities are tightly regulated, and transgressions are severely punished. Overall, the restrictive nature of Jonas's society reflects the primary values of the community, which are stability, conformity, and safety.

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David Morrison eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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The society values uniformity above all else. The elders of this community want everyone to act the same, look the same, even think the same. This is the only way they know how to minimize the numerous conflicts that inevitably arise in society.

But it's not just people that the elders want to be the same; the governing ideology of Sameness also applies to the weather—which, thanks to developments in technology, can be controlled to avoid extreme conditions and temperatures. Again, uniformity is all important here; each and every day must have the exact same weather conditions. Only in this way will it be possible to avoid the kind of problems—such as crop damage—that result from extended periods of bad weather.

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mwestwood eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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Lois Lowry's The Giver seems an anesthetized version of Aldous Huxley's Brave New World, a dark satire that warns that if science becomes an instrument of power and is applied to people, it will produce a horridly changed society. The society of Lowry's little narrative, much like the New World of Huxley's novel, values the same things that the Hatchery has over its doors in Brave New World
Stability, Community, Identity and for the same reasons:  control of its citizens.

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nmmoritz eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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I will go one step further as far as control goes-  I think the society values CONTROL in general.  Not only is the population controlled, but many aspects of the life of the community are controlled- who one may "marry,"  the career path one will take, etc.  Even sexual feelings are attempted to be controlled as well.

It is amazing to me that the people of this society go along with this, and allow themselves to be controlled.

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Asher Wismer eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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A significant value is that of population control; the government understands that a closed society cannot have uncontrolled procreation, and so they limit births and euthanize citizens at a certain age. This allows the society to remain stable instead of overpopulating.

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mlsiasebs eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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Sameness is used in the book to describe their society.  Same bikes, same clothes, same everything.  Only the memory keeper is able to see colors and know the memories of what made them different.  The want to keep the memories (just not accessible to everyone) so that they can have them available if anyone should suggest why to not have "sameness".

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stolperia eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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The society also values conformity. Children of a similar age are all dressed the same; family units are made up of one man, one woman, and no more than two children (one of each sex); while it's not specifically addressed in the book, I'm guessing each family unit's housing is very similar to every other family unit's living quarters.

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pohnpei397 eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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The society in this book values stability.  They want everything to be totally predictable.  They don't want anything to cause conflict in their society.  Therefore, they don't want anything like human emotion or even like weather that could be unpredictable and cause conflict.

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