What is the significance of dream-telling and feeling-discussion that take place during the family unit rituals in The Giver?

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dymatsuoka eNotes educator| Certified Educator

On the surface, these customs might appear to be simply rituals to promote mental health and help individuals understand the workings of their psyches.  Indeed, the regular sharing of dreams and feelings do create an atmosphere of openness and communication which can be advantageous.  The underlying significance of these practices is deeper and more sinister, however.  Their unstated purpose is mind-control, the guarantee that "sameness" will always be perpetuated.  By mandating daily dream-tellings and feelings-discussions, the community is making sure that the interior lives of citizens remain exposed, and that steps may be quickly taken to correct deviance from desired norms.

It is required, not just suggested, that all feelings be shared.  In Chapter 1, recognizing his uneasiness as apprehension, Jonas "would have preferred to keep his feelings hidden.  But this is (is), of course, against the rules".  His sharing of feelings results in a conversation with his parents that both helps him understand but also ensures that he responds appropriately according to societal standards. Jonas' revelation of his dream in Chapter 5 has similar consequence.  Jonah's dream evidences "first Stirrings", the beginnings of normal adolescent interest in sex.  The society controls sexual urges in its citizens, however, and Jonah must immediately begin "treatment", a daily pill to suppress any desires he might have in this area.

saarraahhss | Student

In a utopian community like the one in The Giver, it is required to share feelings and dreams with others inorder to abstain from keeping anything hidden. Hidding things in families usually builds up, and continues growing until the secret is revealed, and new problems will occur by then... Both these rituals also help to settle things down and keep the people painless, with nothing to worry about(not that the people have depth of feeling for that). These rituals are also part of the community rules that should    
 not be broken. These rituals finally help the parents to communicate with their children, and understand their minds.