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The Giver - Essay

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Paula Barragan
Period 2
Ms. Bui
11.01.12

Euthanasia becomes a very important topic and conflict in ‘The Giver’ as Jonas realizes what ‘releasing’ really means. What impacts him the most is the fact that his own father is the responsible of many newchildren, or newborn children, being ‘released’. Which leads him, Jonas, to take a really important choice to make the Community realize of what really happens and not just what they know. In our society, euthanasia is a very relevant concept, due to the fact that there are times where it’s better, from a person’s point of view, to just let the person that is really sick and has no choice but die.
In ‘The Giver’, “releasing” is a very bad thing, it’s “a final decision, a terrible punishment, an overwhelming statement of failure” (pg.2) Though in some rare cases it would also be the last thing someone can do to a person that has no choice, such as “newchildren”. “There were only two occasions of release which [are] not punishment” (pg.7). The release of the elderly and the release of a newchild, though the Elderly would celebrate for a life well and fully lived, whereas newchildren didn’t have a chance to live their lives.
One of the biggest moments in the book that leads to Jonas to flee the community with Gabe is when he watches his own father make a releasing ceremony for a twin baby, this shocks Jonas since up until then he didn’t really know what happened during releasing; something that most of his community doesn’t know either, “those who were released – even as newchildren – were sent Elsewhere and never returned to the community” (pg.43)
Once Jonas watches his father release the newchild twin, or kill it, he also pictures the memory of the soldier dying that The Giver had given him before and makes the connection that even though those memories don’t exist anymore to the people in the community, they still somehow do it for the ‘better’ of the people, the newchildren, and the old.
In our society, Euthanasia a relevant concept that people often discuss whether or not it’s good that people have the choice to make for themselves or for a family member. Some would suggest that doing such is almost killing the person yourself, but some might think that it’s for the better of the person, to stop suffering. In ‘The Giver’, people almost have no choice when it comes to releasing; you have three chances before you’re released, except for the children and the old, “a boy in his group of Elevens whose father had been released years before. None ever mentioned; the disgrace was unspeakable.” (pg.9) ----------!!!! -----------

In the end, I think that the book is promoting that euthanasia is a concept to still think about and that there is always going to be pros and cons that come with the subject, but that both The Giver and The Receiver, Jonas, did what they thought was a good idea to make the community see what’s really happening in their society. To really understand the meaning of euthanasia or release, and to make a change about it, because even though in our society it’s still a relevant subject, in the book it seem that they just don’t care because they don’t know, that is something that Lois Lowry is trying to tell the people in our society; to actually know what’s going on around us instead of not even bothering to do something. And lastly, Jonas and Gabe left their community, with the help of The Giver, to not only save Gabe’s life but to also bring back all the memories to the community and to teach them that there’s not only hatred, conflict, hunger and death but there’s also love, friendship, and family, concepts that they don’t know and the book doesn’t tell you, but Lowry leaves it up to the reader to come up with and ending in the community.

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