Discussion Topic

The portrayal of the community in The Giver through descriptive language and word choice

Summary:

In The Giver, the community is portrayed as highly controlled and devoid of individuality through descriptive language and word choice. Words like "sameness" and "precision of language" emphasize the community's strict regulations and lack of emotional depth, highlighting a society that prioritizes conformity and order over personal freedom and expression.

Expert Answers

An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

How is the community described in The Giver?

In the community, the most-valued thing is "sameness".  Thus, everyone strives to be the same - to not stick out.  In the process of working toward "sameness", the elders at some point or another decided to give up the ability to see color (all colors are the same now) as well as most emotions, including "love", and any fluctuations in weather or climate.

In order to keep the community running smoothly, families are placed together by the powers-that-be.  Marriages don't occur for love - they are arranged.  Children are assigned to adoptive families, with one girl and one boy in each family.  Adolescents and adults take "pills" to prevent any romantic feelings.  Medication is also used to dull pain, which is seems the community hasn't figured out how to completely eradicate.

Children are raised with an emphasis on this "sameness" that is so important. They are born to women whose job it is to have children and raised in batches. Once they are assigned to families, they are given numbers and move through school with their classes.  Each year, some new marker happens at graduation.  Once they reach adolescence, a job is chosen for them and assigned, and they train for that job.  This is the first time anything has been different between them.  Prior to this, every child is treated exactly the same.

The concept of a "career" is unknown, since no one gets ahead or advances.  With the exception of the leaders, no one is more important than another, and money doesn't exist.  Anyone who is deemed to be "different" is "released", or killed.

Last Updated on
An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

How is the community described in The Giver?

Everything in the community is tightly regulated.  Choice is restricted to the point of being almost nonexistent.   There is no color, and there are no memories.  All of the community‚Äôs memories are stored in the Receiver of Memory.  Precision of language is very important, as there is no emotion.  No one stands out, and the objective of preventing discomfort is paramout.

There is almost no personal choice in the community.  Jobs are chosen for children when they turn 12 years old.  Children are genetically engineered, raised in groups until they are a year old, and then named and assigned to families.  Couples are paired by committee and assigned children to raise until they are adults, when they cut off all ties with them.

Euthanasia is commonly used in the community under the euphemism of release.  Once the elderly become too old to be useful they are released on a schedule.  Anyone who breaks the rules three times is released.  Newborn babies are released if they are born twins, and the heavier one is chosen to live.

Last Updated on
An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

What would be a physical description of the community in The Giver?

I'm not sure if you're looking for a topographical description of the area, or if you are looking for a description of the people in the community.  So, I'll do a little of both.

For the community itself, I picture something very Stepford-ish.  Beautiful landscapes, cookie-cutter houses, well-maintained lawns.  No animals, though, of any kind.  Everything is fairly close together, since the citizens use bicycles to get everywhere they need to go.  There is also a bridge going over the river to Elsewhere.

For the people, almost everyone has brown or dark eyes.  Jonas and Gabriel, with one or two other exceptions, are the only people with light-colored eyes.  Since the people who live there are a result of genetic engineering - not random pairings - their looks are probably very mainstreamed.  Though there are abnormalities (like Fiona's red hair or JOnas's light eyes), most people probably look very much the same.  Also, since no one in the community except Jonas and the Giver are able to see color, this enhances the sameness between people.

Last Updated on
An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

What does the word choice reveal about the community in The Giver?

In Lois Lowry's The Giver, word choice and language are carefully chosen in order for effective communication to take place. Effective communication not only helps with communication but allows children and people to think about what they say before they say it. The benefit of proper communication leads to fewer arguments or miscommunication, not to mention not getting physically disciplined like Asher did as early as age three. It is interesting how Asher's experiences with language influence Jonas to take a whole day to consider how he feels about the upcoming naming and advancement ceremony. But at least by the time Jonas has to share his feelings, he's considered words like "nervous" and comes up with "apprehensive." This helps his parents to consider how they can help him in the best way. It seems as if the author is saying that precise language may seem difficult to develop, but well worth the effective communication that results.

See eNotes Ad-Free

Start your 48-hour free trial to get access to more than 30,000 additional guides and more than 350,000 Homework Help questions answered by our experts.

Get 48 Hours Free Access
Last Updated on