Release In The Giver

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No pain. No worries. No choices. One’s life is planned out carefully, and there is nothing complicated about it. After living a controlled, peaceful life, one is given a “Release”, which will send them to Elsewhere, and forever disappear from the Community. What can be so bad about that? In The Giver by Lois Lowry, many euphemisms are used. One example, Release, is mentioned throughout the book that actually means executing the person by killing. Normally, release is for the Old who have lived a long, good life, and will die soon because of old age. However, one can be released for two other reasons-- to “weed out” babies who are considered “unnecessary” in the Community, or to punish members of the Community who have made transgressions. All three victims of the release, unfortunately, have no idea what’s going to happen to them. No one in the Community really understands the vague and incomplete idea of “release”; to them, it simply means going to Elsewhere. Even the one who actually performs the Release does not know the real truth: “One for here, one for Elsewhere,” Lily chanted. “Do you actually take it Elsewhere, Father?” Jonas asked. “No, I just have to make the selection… Then I perform a small Ceremony of Release.” “And somebody else comes to get him? Somebody from Elsewhere?” “That’s right, Jonas-bonus.” (p136-137) In this way, everyone in the Community is shielded away from the real truth. Because fear and pain does not play a role on this utopian society, let alone death, the term “Release” was created to veil the true meaning of death. When Jonas found out the true meaning of Release through watching his father release a baby, he felt so angry and confused that his own father killed a baby with his own hands. However, the Giver calmed him and explained to him: “Listen to me, Jonas. They can’t help it. They know nothing…. It’s the way they

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