Sameness in The Giver

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  • 0:03 Predictability
  • 0:24 Climate Control
  • 1:28 Ethnicity
  • 2:24 Freedom of Choice
  • 3:17 True Happiness
  • 3:52 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Kerry Gray

Kerry has been a teacher and an administrator for more than twenty years. She has a Master of Education degree.

In 'The Giver' by Lois Lowry, the community has made the decision to sacrifice differences for Sameness and predictability. In this lesson, we'll learn more about Sameness.


What would it be like to live in a world without weather, or color, or changes in geography? It would be hard to imagine giving those things up, but that's exactly what the people of the community did in Lois Lowry's The Giver. They've given up variety for the convenience and predictability of Sameness.

Climate Control

Sameness means exactly what it sounds like. In The Giver sameness is the idea that everything must be the same and that people should not be different from one another. It's when things are not the same that creates problems. For example, the people in Jonas' world realized that unpredictable weather caused problems. Just think about all of the damage caused by snow, storms, and floods. But instead of simply living with these things, they looked for a solution.

'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.'

They made the weather be the same every day - a dull, gray, comfortable, and predictable climate that never changes. They also eliminated valleys, hills, or curves in the road that could potentially slow down transportation. The result? No more sunburns, no more floods, no more natural disasters, and no more problems.


But it wasn't just environmental variations that caused problems, according to the people in The Giver. How could they solve the problem of race relations? The answer was, once again, Sameness.

The Giver tells Jonah, '....There was a time, actually -- you'll see this in the memories later -- when flesh was many different colors. That was before we went to Sameness. Today flesh is all the sameā€¦' Genetic scientists have sufficiently managed to stifle the perception of color and reduce differences between citizens of the community.

Of course, their solution isn't perfect, as the Giver points out: 'We've never completely mastered Sameness. I suppose the genetic scientists are still hard at work trying to work the kinks out. Hair like Fiona's must drive them crazy.' Fiona's red hair is one of the first colors Jonas perceives after receiving memories. Fortunately, other citizens do not see it.

Freedom of Choice

While most of the citizens have never known anything but Sameness, Jonas begins to crave choices when he starts to receive Memories from the past. 'But now that I can see colors, at least sometimes, I was just thinking: what if we could hold up things that were bright red, or bright yellow, and he could choose? Instead of the Sameness.'

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