What do you think was the difference between the terms "release" and "loss" based on the way the community used these words?

Asked on by princess21

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rugator's profile pic

rugator | Middle School Teacher | (Level 1) Assistant Educator

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In The Giver, the community uses "loss" to describe the accidental death of a community member. The process of "release," while not initially revealed by the author, is the manner in which the community puroposely euthanizes one of its members.

In the story, there are three instances when someone might be "released." One instance is for violating a major rule. A second is if they are too old or too young to thrive in the community. And the third reason is if a community member is convicted of violating a rule of the community three times.

The whole notion of "release" in The Giver raises the question of whether or not a society has the right and or the obligation to euthanize one of its members. A controversial subject to be sure.

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gmuss25 | College Teacher | (Level 2) Distinguished Educator

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As was mentioned in the previous post, the term "loss" refers to when a community member accidentally passes away. The term "release" is a euphemism for when the community euthanizes certain members. Throughout the novel, Jonas recalls a time when a cheerful four-year-old named Caleb accidentally fell into the river and died. Jonas' society is extremely safe and accidental deaths rarely happen. The citizens performed the Ceremony of Loss by chanting Caleb's name continuously throughout the day until it faded away. The word "loss" implies that the community feels grief towards the accidental death of one of its citizens.

In contrast, the term "release" gives the audience and community members a positive feeling of freedom. To be "released" sounds like a pleasurable, liberating experience. However, the reality behind the term is inhumane and disturbing. In Jonas' community, precise language is taken very seriously. The term "release" has a positive connotation that misleads the community members into believing that it is a pleasurable, happy experience.

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