Established rules and exceptions

The community from Lois Lowry's young adult novel The Giver is heavily monitored and follows strict rules. The ruling Committee of Elders determines the rules of the community, which strictly regulate the daily life of the members and how they coexist. The rules were adopted many years ago and written down in the Book of Rules, which is found in every house.

The Elders are fundamentally opposed to changes in the rules (Chapter 13, 62%). They always debate for a long time before deciding to change a rule. For important rule changes, they ask the Receiver of Memory for advice. He therefore holds one of the most important positions in the community , but he complains that he is consulted only rarely.

People joke about the fact that the consultants arrive at the House of Old even before they have made a decision. Consequently, a rule is almost never changed. The reason for this is explained by the Giver: "Life here is so orderly, so predictable—so painless." (Chapter 13, 62%).

The Receiver of Memory follows different rules than the rest of the community. Therefore, Jonas also receives special training rules in a folder (Chapter 9, 57%) when he is chosen as the successor of the Receiver of Memory. It takes some time for him to come to terms with these new duties and rights, since several of them fundamentally contradict rules and general principles of the community.

The many rules and rituals

The private, professional, and public lives of the members of the community are governed  by many rules that determine their actions from morning to evening. These rules are very present in the narrative and recur again and again, either as direct addresses to citizens through loudspeakers, through self-regulatory behavior, or through indications from the other members. Many of these rules have become ritualized over time. They are accepted by the members and are diligently respected.

For example, the family's morning dream telling opens the day, and the evening telling of feelings closes the day. Hours of work, hours of school, and hours of free time are fixed. Children must complete a certain number of volunteer hours or they will not be assigned a job. 

The citizens are not allowed to leave the house at night (Chapter 21, 0%). When someone from the community dies unexpectedly, the group recites their name until they are forgotten. This happened, for example, with the boy Caleb, who drowned in the river (Chapter 6, 45%).

The rule of politeness 

The rule of politeness is one of the most important rules of the community. It demands that each member should always behave politely towards the others, and conditions the behavior of the individual as well as their relationship with the others.

All members must master and use precise and accurate language. They should also always be punctual. If a breach of courtesy occurs, one side must apologize (public apology) and the other side must accept the apology .

For example, Asher must apologize for being late: ”When the class took their seats at the conclusion of the patriotic hymn, Asher remained standing to make his public apology as was required." (Chapter 1, 27%). 

Accepting the apology is also part of the ritual. Thus, the class to which Asher apologized responds: "'We accept your apology, Asher.' The class recite...

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