There are many words in this book that are used differently than we might use them. Some are euphemisms. A euphemism is a word used to replace another word, usually a word that is considered unpleasant. Release is a euphemism for killing. It...
Euphemisms used include Stirrings, Elsewhere and Sameness.
There are many words in this book that are used differently than we might use them. Some are euphemisms. A euphemism is a word used to replace another word, usually a word that is considered unpleasant. Release is a euphemism for killing. It is a more sensitive way to describe the concept.
The most significant euphemism other than release is Stirrings. Stirrings stand for sexual feelings. The community is so concerned with preventing emotions and controlling the population that it trains parents to identify the first signs of puberty in their children, which they refer to as Stirrings.
He remembered that there was a reference to the Stirrings in the Book of Rules, though he didn't remember what it said. And now and then the Speaker mentioned it. ATTENTION. A REMINDER THAT STIRRINGS MUST BE REPORTED IN ORDER FOR TREATMENT TO TAKE PLACE. (Ch. 5)
As soon as Stirrings are identified, the adolescents begin taking a pill to prevent them. This pill keeps them childlike. It is some kind of hormone blocker, and as soon as you stop taking it the Stirrings come back.
Another euphemism related to release is Elsewhere. When a person dies, he or she goes to Elsewhere. Elsewhere is a euphemism for death. The community’s citizens do not really seem to understand this. Jonas thinks that Elsewhere is an actual place.
If he were released, they would not see him again. Ever. Those who were released--even as newchildren—were sent Elsewhere and never returned to the community. (Ch. 6)
As release and Elsewhere demonstrate, Jonas’s community has no concept of death. They do not seem to understand that people are being killed, and they have no idea what happens to them when they are released. Elsewhere is nowhere, unless it is the afterlife.
These euphemisms are part of the community’s efforts toward Sameness, which is a major concept. Sameness is a euphemism for societal control. It includes surveillance, eugenics (genetic modification to control race) and control over every aspect of a person’s life.
There was a time, actually--you'll see this in the memories later--when flesh was many different colors. That was before we went to Sameness. Today flesh is all the same, and what you saw was the red tones. (Ch. 12)
This seems to indicate that everyone in the community is white, since there are no other skin tones and The Giver refers to skin as having shades of red, which seems to refer more to white skin tones.
Part of Sameness is the population control, which means that family units are carefully constructed based on predetermined parameters. Another part is climate control and the modification of the landscape. Everything is designed to maintain the optimum control over the community.