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The society in which Jonas lives remains harmonious by assigning jobs to each individual according to a laborious evaluation of their skill, by matching up husbands and wives based on personality to balance out each other, and only allowing two children, one male and one female, per family unit. There is also a subtle theme of technology having only a minimal role in society; throughout the book, it is taken for granted that Jonas's community is without such technologies as television, or radio, although computers are mentioned at one point and there is a two-way microphone/speaker system used for announcements and surveillance, similar to the telescreens of Nineteen Eighty-Four. Later in the novel, it is also revealed that there is a video surveillance system that monitors the entire community, albeit the wide majority of the population is unaware of this. Transportation is mostly limited to bicycles; however, cars and airplanes exist in small numbers for the main use of transporting food, possibly from other communities.
The novel forms a loose trilogy with Gathering Blue (2000) and Messenger (2004), two other books set in the same future era.
I am only reading this book on my breaks at work so I am not reading it as quickly as I could. However, the more I read the more terrifying the community sounds. I guess if one were born into that sort of thing it would not be that bad or if even your situation were half of what it is in the book.
Comparing it to the society we have now though I wonder how any could ever want such a community.