What might happen to the people who are released in The Giver?

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We come to find out that to be released means to die, so anyone being released is really dying. The community does not use the term "death," however, nor do they talk about dying, even if someone is very sick or very old. 

It takes a while for us to...

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We come to find out that to be released means to die, so anyone being released is really dying. The community does not use the term "death," however, nor do they talk about dying, even if someone is very sick or very old. 

It takes a while for us to realize this, though. We begin to get an idea that release means death when Jonas is volunteering at the House of the Old and the old woman he is bathing is talking about a release celebration for another one of the elderly people in the nursing home. Although it sounds a bit more like a retirement party than anything else, we get the impression when Roberto is taken through the door to the release room that he is going to meet his death, even though when Jonas asks what happens during the release, the old woman says only the Elders know.

Later, Jonas actually watches a video of a release and sees exactly what it means.

As for what happens to those who are released, if we are being literal about what happens to their bodies, we do not know. The only release we see from beginning to end is for the newborn twin and his body is discarded in what appears to be a trash chute. The other references to release in the novel do not mention where the bodies go following the release.

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