What happens to Jonas and Gabe at the end of The Giver?

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Lois Lowry deliberately creates an ambivalent and confusing ending to The Giver. Jonas and his baby brother, Gabe, successfully make their escape from the community, and they appear to arrive at a hill over which is the Elsewhere that Jonah seeks. They climb to the top of the hill, and the weakened Jonas tucks Gabe onto a sled, and they soar downhill. At the end, Jonas thinks that he hears music and singing--both ahead of him and behind him, from where he had just come. Do Jonas and Gabe arrive alive at the Elsewhere at the bottom of the hill? Or are the colorful lights and singing voices representative of unconciousness or death and the ascent into heaven? It's up for the reader to decide, but the important fact is that the two boys have escaped the ordered society from which they came. In any case, they have reached a better place.

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