Homework Help

How does Jonas's community use euphemism to distance itself from the realities of their...

user profile pic

jennyc92 | Student, Grade 11 | eNotes Newbie

Posted February 23, 2010 at 12:03 PM via web

dislike 2 like

How does Jonas's community use euphemism to distance itself from the realities of their world in The Giver? What about our society?

1 Answer | Add Yours

user profile pic

pohnpei397 | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted February 23, 2010 at 12:06 PM (Answer #1)

dislike 1 like

To me, the ultimate example of the community using a euphemism is when they use the word "release" to mean "kill" or "execute."  When they do this, they are making it so they do not have to face up to the reality of what they are doing.

Here in our society, we are perhaps less squeamish about using the real words for things.  However, I think we do use euphemisms for especially sensitive matters -- ones we don't want to really think about.  To me, the two that come immediately to mind are death (we say someone has "passed away" or that someone has "lost" their husband) and sex ("slept with").

When we use words like this we, like Jonas's society are trying to protect ourselves from ideas we don't want to think about.  I think we feel that if we don't say the actual words, the things themselves will not/do not happen.

Join to answer this question

Join a community of thousands of dedicated teachers and students.

Join eNotes