What rights are granted to citizens in Lois Lowry's The Giver?

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The community in The Giver is set up so that everyone receives the same benefits of living in a safe and peaceful environment. As long as each person does the job assigned to him or her, then each person has a right to follow the same pattern of living as everyone else. If anyone steps out of that pattern, though, then he or she is released (killed). The following is a list of each stage of life and the rights granted each citizen for obeying the rules associated with it:

1. Children are placed with families that include a mother, a father, and possibly one other child. All children enjoy living in respectful, safe, and economically stable environments.

2. Children go to school until they are assigned a job at age twelve; whereupon, they train to work in that career for the rest of their lives. This provides stable employment throughout their lives.

3. Once they are ready to be assigned parenting partners, children who have grown to adulthood are paired up with a partner with whom they can live without duress and rear children of their own. This pattern of living provides stability and protects against the instability of divorce.

The next stage in Jonas's community is best described by him after he receives a memory about family and love. Jonas compares that memory with what will happen to his parents once they are done rearing Jonas and Lily:

"As long as they're still working and contributing to the community, they'll go and live with the other Childless Adults. And they won't be part of my life anymore. . . And after that, when the time comes, they'll go to the House of the Old. . . And they'll be well cared for, and respected, and when they're released, there will be a celebration" (124-125).

Therefore, after child-rearing, Childless Adults have the right to work as long as they contribute to the community and then they are placed in a home for the elderly. By sacrificing familial ties, love, personal dreams and free choice, the people of the community are guaranteed education, free healthcare, stability, equality, food, and shelter throughout their lives.

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