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Language And Three Words In Lois Lowry’s The Giver

965 words - 4 pages

Language is a tool to communicate with others, convey your ideas and meanings. Precise language is important because it can help you exchange ideas with others more efficiently without any chance of being misunderstood. Sometimes, different words are used to conceal the true meaning of the idea or action, such as passing away implicating death. In Lois Lowry’s “The Giver”, people living in the community are taught to use precise language to prevent any misunderstanding or misconceptions. But some words used in the community are not precise and are used to distort the true purpose of the word, in order to promote rules or ideas that the government does not want the general public to know. Three words in Lois Lowry’s “The Giver” which camouflage the true meaning of the words are release, assignment and stirrings.

On page two of Lois Lowry’s “The Giver”, there is the first mentioning of the word “release” when the announcer says: “Needless to say, he will be released.” Throughout the book, the main character, Jonas, wonders what being released means. We learn that being released is not to be taken to another community but to be killed. This definition is unknown to most people in the community, and many think that being released is harmless and just the process of getting sent to another place. The word “release” obscures the true definition of the word death because they do not want to scare the people living in the community. People in the community are happy and joyful because they don’t know the truth, which is that they will automatically be killed at a certain age. If the general public knew the true action of release, it would cause confusion. This is shown on pages 150 and 151 of “The Giver” when Jonas sees what being released actually is. He describes his feelings as “a ripping sensation inside himself, the feeling of terrible pain clawing its way forward.” If everyone in the community knew what being released was and everyone agreed with Jonas, they would want to leave the community. Therefore masking the true meaning of release does affect people’s behavior because people think that being released when you are old is an amazing thing. If they knew the truth, then they would react differently.

The word assignment means: “Something, such as a task, which is assigned.” ( This means that the people getting the assignment have no choice or say in the process. In Lois Lowry’s “The Giver”, assignment is used in place of the word “job”. This may not seem like a huge difference, but it still affects the meaning. Job is something that you can, for the most part, choose for yourself, but assignment is something that others choose for you. The community in “The Giver” does not allow people to choose their own jobs, but instead the elders...

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