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Punishment is actually a very important concept in The Giver. In a society where tight control of your people is necessary, you have to have ways to keep them in line.
In Jonas’s community, punishment for nonconformity (being different) is severe. A person who breaks a rule gets two warnings. These involve being called before a hearing. After the third infraction, the person is Released, or killed by lethal injection.
There are other minor punishments as well, of course. The least severe punishment is apology. People are required to make apologies for any infractions, and for making anyone uncomfortable in any way.
A slightly more severe punishment is corporal punishment. Young children (or the elderly) who misbehave are swatted with a Discipline Wand.
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