Predict reasons that a citizen would apply for release in The Giver.

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Release was actually very rare, and citizens almost never apply for release.

Release means death by lethal injection.  There are three times when the community releases someone.

There were only two occasions of release which were not punishment. Release of the elderly, which was a time of celebration for a...

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Release was actually very rare, and citizens almost never apply for release.

Release means death by lethal injection.  There are three times when the community releases someone.

There were only two occasions of release which were not punishment. Release of the elderly, which was a time of celebration for a life well and fully lived; and release of a newchild, which always brought a sense of what-could-we- have-done. (Ch. 1)

The most common form of release is release of the elderly, which happens to everyone eventually when the community determines it is the right time.  Release for punishment is rare.  A person has to really mess up, either repeatedly or in a major way.  Release of newchildren seems to be semi-rare, because it happens twice in the book (Jonas views a release, and Gabriel’s release is planned).  Applying for release would be suicide.

In Jonas’s community, suicide is not common.  People lead a perfect life where all decisions are made for them and they have no reason to be unhappy.  Since no one in the community feels any real emotions, there is no reason to need release from them.

It is apparently possible to apply for release.  Since no one in the community has any concept of death, they do not really understand what release is.  It is possible that someone might apply for release out of curiosity.  It would take a very special person to be that curious about Elsewhere, since no one in the community seems especially inquisitive.

Illness seems to be very rare in the community.  In our society, people often commit suicide due to mental or physical anguish.  They kill themselves because they simply can’t take the pain anymore.  This is unlikely to happen in Jonas’s community.  Anyone who is hurt immediately takes relief of pain medication, and all diseases seem to have been eradicated.

There is one example of suicide.  The exception to the lack of emotions rule is the Receiver of Memory.  This person holds all of the community’s emotions, and thus all of its pain.  If a person is not properly trained to handle the pain, then a suicide results.  This is what occurs with Jonas’s predecessor, Rosemary.

The Giver explains to Jonas that he waited as long as he could to give Rosemary memories of pain.  When he did, she was not able to handle it.

The Giver continued. "I backed off, gave her more little delights. But everything changed, once she knew about pain. I could see it in her eyes." (Ch. 18)

Rosemary applies for release because she does not want to live in her society anymore.  Jonas has the same reaction when he learns that release means killing. 

Jonas’s rules prohibit applying for release.  He is not in the mood to kill himself anyway.  Jonas takes another way out by escaping to Elsewhere.  Depending on your interpretation of the ambiguous ending, he either dies with Gabriel or frees both of them.  Either way, the memories are returned to the people and the perfect world bubble bursts for the community.

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