Why does the apple change when Jonas plays catch with it?

The apple looks different to Jonas because he sees the apple’s red color. Before he becomes the Receiver of Memory, Jonas doesn’t know how to describe the apple’s change because the community erased color to establish “Sameness.” When Jonas describes the apple incident, The Giver reveals that the change Jonas saw was color. The change is related to Jonas’s ability to “see beyond” the community’s Sameness technology and notice the true color of the world around him.

Why must Jonas take pills?

According to community rules, Jonas must take a pill to stop “the stirrings,” or the onset of sexual desire during puberty. Jonas’s mother gives him the pills after he talks about an erotic dream in which he wanted to bathe Fiona, which reveals Jonas’s burgeoning sexuality. Since the community controls childbirth and marriage, the elders most likely curb the citizens’ sexual desires to avoid people having children outside of the system or choosing their own partner.

Where does Jonas volunteer?

Jonas volunteers in many different places around the community instead of gravitating toward one role. He evidently enjoys the rare opportunity to choose how to spend his time and appreciates the freedom to experience the different roles. However, unlike his peers who consistently volunteer at one place, Jonas has no idea which job the elders will assign him because volunteer hours are an important factor in their decision. This uncertainty contributes to Jonas’s apprehension in the days leading to the Ceremony of Twelve.

What does the word “release” mean in the context of the community?

Release is the community’s euphemism for death. In order to shelter its citizens from the frightening reality of death, the elders claim the released people go “Elsewhere,” a term that also refers to the land outside the community. Jonas therefore imagines released people, such as the elderly woman Larissa, living peacefully in new communities. Only after watching his father conduct a “release” by injecting a baby with poison does Jonas understand the real meaning of the word.

What is “Sameness,” and why does the community enforce it?

Sameness, or the eradication of differences between citizens as much as possible, is a central principle in Jonas's community. Throughout the novel, Jonas considers how he cannot discuss differences with his peers because it’s considered rude and potentially embarrassing. For example, Jonas never praises his groupmate Benjamin’s accomplishments at the Rehabilitation Center, because doing so would draw attention to Benjamin’s unique talents, and set him apart from the rest of their group. The community enforces Sameness through its rules and technology in order to protect its citizens from discomfort and danger. On a deeper level, the Giver explains that Sameness protects people from the consequences of making wrong choices by removing choice altogether. The lack of choice makes life predictable and safe.