Why could exaggeration be dangerous for the community?

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In Jonas's community, the strict government requires that citizens utilize precise language at all times as a way of controlling the population and minimizing the possibility of conflict and unrest. Through language, citizens can express strong thoughts and feelings. By controlling language, the government can effectively control the population's thoughts and regulate their emotions. Jonas recalls being chastised for not using precision language as a child when he innocently remarked that he was starving. Jonas had committed an unintentional lie and mentions,

"But the reason for precision of language was to ensure that unintentional lies were never uttered" (Lowry, 70).

Although Jonas's exaggeration was not dangerous, it challenged the principles of the community's stance on language. By exaggerating, individuals are essentially expressing strong emotions, which is exactly what the government aims to oppress. Preventing citizens from exaggerating and telling minor lies coincides with the government's aim to control the population's thoughts and feelings.

Limiting language and requiring citizens to use pleasant, light euphemisms enables the government to cultivate a peaceful, serene environment, where citizens do not possess strong emotions or feelings that can potentially threaten the stability of the community. Even positive words that evoke strong emotions like "love" are forbidden from being used in Jonas's highly structured society. One of the most signficant euphemisms used throughout society is the term "release," which means death. Once Jonas discovers its true meaning, he makes plans to flee the community.

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