The Giver Topic Tracking: Rules
Rules 1: In the community where Jonas lives, a rigid set of rules dictates and regulates every moment of the lives of its citizens. Although there are few exceptions, People in the community strictly adhere to the rules. When rules are violated or anything out of the ordinary happens, the citizens often become uneasy and nervous. The importance of rules is established from the very beginning of the story. Jonas is scared to see an unknown aircraft in the sky because according to the rules, planes are usually prohibited from flying over the community.
Rules 2: Adhering to the rules of the community, Asher makes an apology to the entire class when he is tardy. Precision of language is also an important rule; one must say exactly what he means. When Asher uses the word "distraught" inappropriately, he is immediately corrected by the instructor.
Rules 3: Lily confesses to having felt angry when someone from another community came and broke the rules. Like Lily, many citizens express discomfort when rules are broken.
Rules 4: Another rule is that every family unit must have exactly two children-one female and one male. When Lily jokes about keeping Gabriel, Mother reminds her of the rules.
Rules 5: Offenders of rules are brought before people like Mother who works at the Department of Justice. For offenders, there are no third chances. Once someone commits a third offense, he is released from the community.
Rules 6: Father confesses to having broken a rule and peeked at the Naming List of the newchildren to learn Gabriel's name. Compared to other offenses, however, this is minor and less serious.
Rules 7: There is a rule regarding riding bicycles. One is not allowed to ride bicycles until one becomes a Nine. However, it is a rule that is often broken, and there is much talk about changing it. A committee is examining the issue, but it is difficult to change rules in the community.
Rules 8: Comfort objects are given to every newchild, but according to the rules, they are taken away when children become Eights.
Rules 9: In the community, there are also unspoken codes of behavior. They are not rules, but they are often as strictly adhered to and established as rules are. For example, people do not usually like to mention things that are different about others in order to avoid being impolite.
Rules 10: When Jonas once breaks a rule, he is immediately chastised by an announcement through the speakers. When he takes the apple home after seeing it change at the Recreational Center, an announcement is made to all male Elevens that things are not to be taken from the Recreation area. Although Jonas is not specifically mentioned, Jonas understands that the announcement is directed at him.
Rules 11: There are also rules against bragging in the community. Thus, Jonas cannot talk to Benjamin about Benjamin's accomplishments at the Rehabilitation Center.
Rules 12: There are rules that specify how many volunteering hours one must complete in order to receive his Assignment as a Twelve. Long time ago, when an Eleven did not finish his volunteer hours, he had not been given his Assignment at the Ceremony, but had had to receive it separately.
Rules 13: The rules dictate that people in the community must not look at one another's nakedness, but the elderly and the newchildren are an exception from this rule.
Rules 14: One must treat Stirrings by taking pills every morning. Although Jonas knows that Asher is already taking the pills, he has never mentioned it to Asher because it is rude to discuss what is different about someone else.
Rules 15: There are things that each age group is allowed to do and wear. Fours, Fives, and Sixes must wear jackets that are buttoned in the back. Sevens can start volunteering and wearing front-buttoned jackets. Nines start riding bicycles. Every stage of one's life in the community is organized and controlled.
Rules 16: Similarly, Elevens start wearing new clothes that are appropriately designed for their changing bodies and activities.
Rules 17: Although no one knows for certain whether or not Elsewhere exists, the rules say that it is possible to ask to be released and go Elsewhere. Things in the community are so carefully organized and controlled, however, that Jonas finds it hard to believe that anyone would want to be released. There are even rules regarding such things as matching spouses or assigning children to families.
Rules 18: Because of the rule regarding precision of language, Asher must be punished with smacks although he has really asked for snacks.
Rules 19: When the Chief Elder mentions the failure of the Receiver ten years ago, everyone is uncomfortable. As a general rule, things that are "unsettling or different" are not talked about in the community so the Chief Elder chooses not to discuss it further.
Rules 20: When Jonas becomes a Twelve and is given his Assignment, he is given a new set of rules that he must follow.
Rules 21: Doors are never locked in the community, but Jonas notices that the door leading into The Giver's room is locked. He is confused and uneasy about this violation of rules, but the Attendant quickly reassures him that it is only to ensure The Giver's privacy.
Rules 22: Although not a rule, people generally do not touch others who are not their family. When Jonas touches Asher, trying to give him a memory of the color red, Asher becomes uncomfortable that Jonas is not adhering to this code of conduct.
Rules 23: Abiding by the rule of precision of language, Jonas's parents explain to him that "love" is an inappropriate word to use when describing their feelings toward him.