What is the significance of dream-telling in The Giver?     

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stolperia eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Dream-telling serves several important purposes in the community. As family members retell their dreams to each other, the adults are given opportunities to explain or reinforce community expectations for behavioral patterns. In a society based on "sameness" with highly regimented procedures for most aspects of daily life, the process of instilling the correct behaviors and responses for every situation is paramount.

Probably even more importantly, dream-telling allows adults to monitor the children they are raising for the beginnings of "the stirrings" - the thoughts and emotions that indicate that a child is becoming aware of sexual differences and feelings. Such emotions and any possible actions that might be caused by such impulses must be immediately eliminated, as indicated by Jonas's mother explaining the daily pill he must start taking on the very first occasion of his reporting a dream that had sexual overtones.