Where does Jonas live? Describe his community.
Lois Lowry's book, The Giver, focuses on a twelve-year-old boy called Jonas who lives in a rigid dystopian society. Though we never come to know the name or location of this community, we do learn that it is an intentional society where everything is highly regulated with the goal of "Sameness." Everything in Jonas's society is very organized and precise, and difference or deviation are not tolerated. Though everyone who grows up in Jonas's community is considered equal, people who do not fit into the ideals of productive society are "released."
Jonas's society is implied to be a self-sustaining one. At the age of twelve, community members are given their Assignment, or occupation. People may go to work in a variety of fields like agriculture and animal raising, public speaking, care for infants or the elderly, and teaching. In the interest of Sameness, people do not get to choose their Assignment. Instead, the community Elders decide based upon the community's need and the talents of individuals.
In the community, there are public recreation spaces, a home for elderly citizens, homes for families, and a medical center. In this way, Jonas's community is not so different from any real-world town or city. That said, there are strict rules about who can go where and what can and cannot be done. For example, Jonas once brings home an apple from a recreation area and is reprimanded over the public loudspeaker. Anyone who repeatedly breaks the rules, or breaks a very big rule, is released.
Though the equality and lack of suffering in Jonas's community can sound very tempting, Lois Lowry wrote this novel as a warning against the allure of a "perfect society." When people in Jonas's community are released for rule breaking, illness, or other deviation from the norm, they are killed as a means of maintaining the Sameness that prevents suffering. Much that was or could be is lost when someone is released, and it is Jonas's job to hold on to all of the memories of what has been sacrificed in the goal of Sameness.