In the novel The Giver why does the community refer to death as "release"? 

Expert Answers
Lorraine Caplan eNotes educator| Certified Educator

In Lowry's The Giver, death is referred to as "release" because the leaders of the community, the Elders, do not want the people of the community to realize that their members are being killed.  People believe that those released are going "Elsewhere," that is, somewhere outside of the community.  In fact, people are euthanized when they get old enough to be more trouble than they are worth, people are put to death for infractions of the rules, and in at least one instance, a child is put to death for its failure to thrive.  Everyone in this community must be productive, healthy, and compliant. Otherwise, it's a death sentence.  "Release" is something beyond a mere euphemism in the novel.  It's a lie.  If people knew the truth, they might resist in some way, assuming that the drugs they take to suppress their emotions would allow that to happen.  But the combination of the lie and the drugs keeps the denizens of the community compliant and content, with no outrage over the killing of their old, their unfit, and their rule-breakers.