What rules of the community are introduced in chapter 1 of The Giver?

There are several rules introduced in chapter 1, which include the rule prohibiting pilots from flying over the community without permission and citizens being required to obey the Speaker's commands. There is also a rule about using precise language and being released after committing three transgressions. Citizens are also required to share their feelings among family members and prohibited from expressing strong emotions.

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In the first chapter of The Giver, readers are introduced to Jonas's dystopian society. From the earliest lines, the descriptions of this community are depicted with ominous undertones.

There are strict rules about proper usage of language. Jonas is only thinking to himself when he realizes that he has incorrectly identified his feelings. He considers that he is frightened and then immediately mentally corrects this word. Even unspoken words are given great weight.

When given orders from the community loudspeakers, citizens are expected to immediately comply. Jonas is on his way home one evening when the townspeople are ordered to enter the nearest building. Jonas drops his bike instantly and rushes inside his house.

Citizens who make egregious errors are released from their community. It isn't clear what "released" means in this chapter, but Jonas notes that it is a "final decision, a terrible punishment, an overwhelming statement of failure."

Punctuality is expected, and sincere public apologies are required when citizens are tardy. When Asher enters his classroom late, he must apologize to everyone and then explain the circumstances of his tardy arrival. His classmates are also required to verbally accept the apology.

After dinner, families are required to share their feelings about the day. Even parents are required to explain how they have felt about various circumstances which they have had to navigate during the day. As children share, parents offer guidance about situations which have caused anger or confusion.

Spouses are assigned, not self-chosen. Jonas considers how the people who work the night crew had not been given spouses. To qualify, individuals must first prove themselves capable of connecting well with others.

Families are only allowed to have two children. They may only have one boy and one girl.

People who break the rules of the community can be forgiven twice. If they break the rules a third time, they must be released.

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In the opening chapter of the novel, Lowry introduces several of the community's rules as Jonas rides his bike home and contemplates his feelings regarding the upcoming December Ceremony. Jonas recalls a frightening time when a pilot-in-training accidentally flew over the community and everyone had to take shelter. The audience learns it is illegal for pilots to fly over the community without permission and that citizens must obey the Speaker. This memory suggests the community is isolated, secure, and highly organized.

The audience also learns the pilot-in-training was released, which is described as a "terrible punishment." Later in the chapter, it is revealed that citizens are released upon their third transgression. This piece of information illustrates the austere, strict nature of Jonas's community, where compliance and conformity are required. It is later revealed that release is simply a euphemism for lethal injection.

Another rule introduced in chapter 1 concerns precise language. Jonas struggles to think of a word that appropriately describes his conflicted, anxious feelings about the upcoming December Ceremony. He also recalls children being reprimanded for using the term "release" at playtime and remembers Asher being scolded for using the word "distraught." According to Asher's instructor, "distraught" is too strong of a word. This incident implies there is a rule against expressing strong emotions in Jonas's community.

Jonas also participates in a ritual sharing of feelings with his family. Each family member is required to discuss their emotions, and Jonas reveals he is "apprehensive" about the upcoming December Ceremony. The ritual sharing of feelings implies the government is invasive and involved in citizens' private lives.

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In this futuristic moral fable, the residents live in an artificial world contrived to control the negative factors of human nature. Here are some rules:

1. No one is allowed to invade the community.

When a jet flies over, everyone must enter the nearest building so that the community appears to have no life. Because a pilot has gone off course, he has invaded the air space of the community and will be "released." Jonas notes the ironic tone of the speaker when he broadcasts this "terrible punishment, an overwhelming statement of failure."

2. The residents must exert care in their use of language.

For example, no one is to use the term "released" in a joking manner. While the residents do not know the true consequences of this term, there is censure in its use. In addition, residents of the community must use euphemistic words rather than those that convey strong emotion.  When Asher apologizes, for instance, he says that he was "distraught" about the salmon being separated, but his teacher corrects him,  "Distraught is too strong a word...." He, then, writes distracted on the instructional board. 

3. Strong emotion is not permitted; people must control their feelings through rationalization.

One of the rituals of the community is "the evening telling of feelings." When the sister of Jonas expresses her anger at a boy from a different community, the parents "interpret" what has happened in order to diffuse Lily's strong emotion; they convince her that the boy simply felt "strange and stupid" in a new place, so Lily should really feel sorry for him. "Lily's feelings were always straightforward, fairly simple, usually easy to resolve."

4. Those who cannot perform or develop as they should are "released."

The elderly are "released" in a celebration "for a life well and fully lived." Also, a "newchild" is released if he/she does not develop according to what is expected. Gabriel is such a child, for he has not grown as expected, and he does not sleep well at night.

5. Families are limited.

Each family can only have two children: one male and one female.

6. People who transgress three times are "released."

Those who break "the rules" of the community are removed from their families; if they acquire three offences they are removed from the community permanently.

7. Children are all grouped according to their ages.

Apparently, they celebrate no individual birthdays because they all move to the next age group simultaneously in a ceremony that moves the children to the next group. Lily is nervous about December, when the Ceremony of Twelve will take place for her and she will no longer be eleven.

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