How does Lowry use literary devices in The Giver to portray "Sameness"?

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Literary devices in The Giver include metaphor, simile, imagery, hyperbole, euphemism, and symbolism. Let's look at each of these briefly and then focus in on euphemism and symbolism.

Metaphor occurs in phrases like “endless ribbon of road” (which Jonas sees when he leaves the community). Simile appears in a statement that children who don't obey the rules are like animals. Vivid imagery is especially prevalent when Jonas receives memories and experiences colors and music for the first time. Hyperbole (exaggeration) occurs when Jonas thinks of the “endless talk” of the people in his community as they try to explain their feelings every evening. This talk is not endless, of course, but it seems like it, and the feelings now seem shallow compared to Jonas's own experiences.

Now let's turn our attention to euphemisms, words that are used to take the edge off of unpleasant ideas. These are quite common in The Giver. “Sameness,” for instance, is presented as a desirable thing in the community, but as the author uses the word, it is really a euphemism for the trampling of individuality. “Release” is the euphemism for death.

Symbolism is common as well. The apple, for instance, that Jonas is holding when he sees color for the first time symbolizes something new in his life. Something is changing for Jonas. Dreams are also symbolic in the story. Dreams are individual, and they symbolize individualism, something that must be curbed at all costs. Therefore families must tell each other their dreams and record them each day, making the dreams part of the community and once again repressing individuality. The daily pill that people take to get rid of the “Stirrings” is also symbolic of the repression of the individual and all that is uniquely human.

We can see, then, that the author uses literary devices to emphasize the Sameness of the community. On the surface, this community appears different from our modern world, yet the author wants us to reflect on how we, too, are pushed into forms of Sameness. She also wants us to think about the euphemisms we use to avoid talking about unpleasant things and to cover up truths.

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