Protection against wrong decisions

In the novel The Giver by Lois Lowry, the community's ancestors adopted something called the principle of sameness. Sameness is supposed to mean that all people are as similar as possible. Their decisions are made by the Elders: Family units, profession, clothing, hairstyle, and daily routine. In this way, they try to create a just and equal society, where all members receive the same and where poverty, hunger, and need no longer exist.

The community is a collective. All goods as well as food are distributed by the state. There is no ownership. Everyone in the community is dependent on each other and each person has to fulfill his or her task. Each profession is given only once at the Ceremony of Twelve. The Committee of Elders determines which tasks must be performed and distributes them accordingly .

The principle is justified by the idea that it would be dangerous for people to make their own decisions . This could lead to wrong choices and conflicts: 

'We don’t dare to let people make choices of their own.' 'Not safe?” The Giver suggested. 'Definitely not safe,' Jonas said with certainty. 'What if they were allowed to choose their own mate? And chose wrong?' [...] 'We really have to protect people from wrong choices' (Chapter 13, 15%).

 Jonas has complete confidence that the Committee of Elders, always makes the right decisions. He has been indoctrinated to believe this all his life.

Climate, environment, and food

The Giver tells Jonas that the principle of sameness was introduced because of economic reasons: "Climate Control. Snow made growing food difficult, limited the agricultural periods. And unpredictable weather made transportation almost impossible at times. It wasn’t a practical thing, so it became obsolete when we went to Sameness" (Chapter 11, 50%).

 To increase food production, the government has changed the environment and altered the landscape. There are no more mountains, as everything has been flattened. As a result of climate control, there are no seasons and no sun, snow, and rain . In addition, animals no longer exist in the community. But with that, there are also no natural disasters.

The food in the community is brought to the people by food distributors, which suggests that everyone gets the same food . The food may not be stored , but is only for immediate consumption.

The members of the community live in row houses that all look the same with the same furniture. Their means of transportation is the bicycle: "The bicycle, at Nine, would be the powerful emblem of moving gradually out into the community, away from the protective family unit." (Chapter 6, 9%). The bicycles bear name tags , indicating that they all look alike.


Until the children are twelve years old, the clothing and hairstyle for each age group is determined by the Committee. Each age group wears a certain uniform

The little girl [Lily] nodded and looked down at herself, at the jacket with its row of large buttons that designated her as a Seven. Fours, Fives, and Sixes all wore jackets that fastened down the back so that they would have to help each other dress and would learn interdependence. The front-buttoned jacket was the first sign of independence, the first very visible symbol of growing up (Chapter 6, 9%). 

Based on the uniform clothing, children can be clearly assigned to their age group.

At eleven, the teenagers receive clothing related to their gender: "There was new clothing: different undergarments for the females, whose bodies were beginning to change; and longer trousers for the males, with a specially shaped pocket for the small calculator [...]" (Chapter 6, 73%). This is where the sameness seems to stop, as the pants for the boys have a special device so that they can keep their calculator in them. They wear tunics with name tags .

Jonas regrets that people don't have a choice in clothing: 

'If everything’s the same, then there aren’t any choices! I want to wake up in the morning and decide things! A blue tunic, or a red one?' He looked down at himself, at the colorless fabric of his clothing. 'But it’s all the same, always' (Chapter 13, 8%). 

Through sameness, colors have also been abolished.


Each age group also wears the same hairstyle. Jonas' father, for example, tells of his sister: " 'So I watched and cheered when my sister, Katya, became a Nine and removed her hair ribbons an...

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