What was unique about the Annex in The Giver?

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The Annex is unique for several reasons.  The door locks, The Giver lives alone, there are books, and the speaker has an off button.

First of all, Jonas is surprised and a little nervous when he realizes that the door to The Annex locks, because “no doors in the community were locked, ever” (ch 10, p. 73).  Jonas is told that the door is kept locked because The Giver is an important man and needs his privacy so he won’t be interrupted.

The room itself is similar to Jonas’s house, but more ornate and decorative.  The Giver lives alone, with no spouse or children.  The only books Jonas has seen are reference books.  He is shocked to see how many The Giver has.

But this room's walls were completely covered by bookcases, filled, which reached to the ceiling. There must have been hundreds—perhaps thousands—of books, their titles embossed in shiny letters. (ch 10, p. 74)

Every dwelling in the community has a speaker where the Speaker can communicate with people.  Jonas is shocked when he sees that the speaker in The Giver’s dwelling has an off button.

Jonas almost gasped aloud. To have the power to turn the speaker off! It was an astonishing thing. (ch 10, p. 79)

The off button is symbolic for Jonas.  It shows him that The Giver is in a position of power, and does not answer to the community’s rules like everyone else.  He realizes that he will someday have the power and authority.

The community tightly controls everyone’s every move.  The Receiver/Giver has a unique and privileged position, but is also quite isolated.  The community realizes that they need him, but he also sacrifices himself so they can have their quiet life of Sameness.

Lowry, Lois (1993-04-26). The Giver (Newbery Medal Book). Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. Kindle Edition.

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