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Provide some textual evidence of death in The Giver.

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mikaila01 | Student, Grade 7 | eNotes Newbie

Posted November 12, 2013 at 2:49 AM via web

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Provide some textual evidence of death in The Giver.

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accessteacher | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted November 12, 2013 at 6:47 AM (Answer #1)

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It is interesting that in this dystopian society death is something that is so far removed from the recognition and awareness of the majority of people that even when Jonas watches a video of his father killing one of the twins that were born that morning, he is only able to truly recognise what is going on through his memories of war and death that have been shown to him by the Giver. Note what the text says in Chapter 17:

As he continued to watch, the newchild, no longer crying, moved his arms and legs in a jerking motion. Then he went limp. His head fell to the side, his eyes half open. Then he was still.

What is obvious to us is not clear at all to Jonas, and he is left knowing that he has seen such gestures before, but he is unable to remember where he has seen them. This shows how citizens in this dystopia are removed from any understanding or simple comprehension of their own mortality. They are unable to recognise death, and this is supported through the use of the euphemism "release" which replaces the word death. It is only when Jonas understands the nature of what "being released" means that he realises he cannot continue to live in such a society. Death is therefore presented in this section of the novel, but also in the fate of the previous Giver, Rosemary, who chooses to kill herself rather than continue to experience such suffering and sadness.

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