The Community is one of many Utopian though totalitarian communities run by a small group called the "Elders". One of the main distinctions of these communities is "Sameness"- the idea that everything, and everyone, should be the same. To this end, citizens of the communities dress the same, live in similar looking dwellings, and do not see color.
Members of the Community do not have memories of past generations, of things like war or famine. Instead, these painful memories, as well as many pleasant ones, are held by one person, an individual known as the "Receiver of Memory". Alone in this task, this individual is consulted when the Elders need the wisdom of the past.
Everything in Communities are strictly controlled, and there is little to no free will. Citizens are assigned jobs upon reaching the age of Twelve, when their formal schooling is near its end and job training begins. If one wishes to have a spouse, s/he must apply for one, a process that can take years, and a spouse will be assigned. Assignments are made based on personality- spouses are meant to complement each other. If the couple wishes to have children, they too are assigned- up to two children, one of each gender. Once the children have grown, spouses move out of family dwellings to live with the other Childless Adults. Several Communities are situated within a day's drive of each other, surrounded by farmland used to provide food. Beyond that is the mysterious "Elsewhere". Note that the only occupations that are designed to give birth to babies are Birthmothers, presumably that no one else is allowed to do so.