The Giver

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Blue Eyes Symbol Icon
Jonas, The Giver, and Gabriel all stand out in the community because of their blue eyes. This difference shows the impossibility of the community's efforts to control nature completely, no matter how hard it tries. In addition, the fact that only the characters with blue eyes are able to see color (the rest of the community sees only in black and white) and to receive memories and feel true, deep emotion suggests that it is only those who are different who are able to notice the differences in others.

Blue Eyes Quotes in The Giver

The The Giver quotes below all refer to the symbol of Blue Eyes. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
The Individual vs. Society Theme Icon
). Note: all page and citation info for the quotes below refers to the Houghton Mifflin edition of The Giver published in 2012.
Chapter 3 Quotes
No one mentioned such things; it was not a rule, but was considered rude to call attention to things that were unsettling or different about individuals.
Related Symbols: Blue Eyes
Page Number: 25
Explanation and Analysis:

Lily teases Jonas for the light color of his eyes, which are unusual in a Community where most individuals have dark eyes. Jonas forgives Lily for this social transgression since she is young, but as this quote notes, pointing out another's differences is considered very rude in the Community. 

Characters often refer to some ambiguous past event when "the Sameness" was imposed upon the Community. This "Sameness" ensured that differences were completely erased from human existence in the Community to the best of its collective ability. Though this complete (or at least massive effort) at unification reduced conflicts between people, uniqueness and diversity were sacrificed in the process. The taboo on referring to differences is not a rule, as Jonas notes here, but it is a heavily imposed social norm. This suggests that whatever conflict occurred before the Sameness was largely fueled by inherent differences between people, ones that are now suppressed to preserve the peace. 

Besides strife, however, differences can also create bonds in people--they rejoice in their similarities, or celebrate each other's differences, creating diverse networks. The Sameness discourages these bonds between people by constantly removing any possibility for continued association between people--by assigning children jobs by age 12, by dispersing family units after the children are grown up, by separating mates into "Childless Adults" and finally into the House of Old before "release." Associations by their very nature thus exclude others, and potentially cause strife. Thus, individuals are essentially kept emotionally isolated and sterile beyond the artificial rules of sharing feelings and dreams. This ensures that the peace is kept, though it removes much of the humanity that comes with intense feelings between people and understanding each other's differences. 


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Blue Eyes Symbol Timeline in The Giver

The timeline below shows where the symbol Blue Eyes appears in The Giver. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 3
The Individual vs. Society Theme Icon
...has only seen his own reflection a few times, Jonas notices that Gabriel has pale eyes like his, while most people in the community have dark eyes. Jonas thinks Gabriel's eyes... (full context)
Chapter 8
The Individual vs. Society Theme Icon
Coming of Age Theme Icon
...and Jonas notices an elder who stands out from the crowd because of his pale eyes. He knows this man is the Receiver. The Chief Elder recalls how ten years ago... (full context)