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Jonas's Death In 'The Giver'

Decent Essays
First, the value a society places on human life can be revealed in how it mourns death. For instance, in Jonas’s society, when the old die there is a celebration. Early in the story, Jonas explains how release of the old is no time for grief, “Release of the elderly, which was a time of celebration for a life well and fully lived” (7). While Release for the elderly is celebrated, the elderly do not know that they are about to be euthanized. As a result, the death is not truly acknowledged and certainly not mourned. In contrast, in modern society, when someone dies it is a time of grief and sometimes people can never truly move on from the loss. The modern society counterpart to the Release ceremony, also, is a funeral, which is held after…show more content…
As Jonas watches the Ceremony, we read “Each December; all the new children born in the previous year turn one” (11). While yes, they do grow a year older, no one actually celebrates it on the day that they were born. As well as everyone celebrating their “birthday” on the same day, each age gets a designated present at the ceremony. “There are good things each year, “Jonas reminded [Lily].” had said to his sister, “This year you get to start your volunteer hours. And remember last year, when you became a Seven, you were so happy to get your front-buttoned jacket.” (40). Not only are the children getting the same exact gifts, but they are not even getting toys, or things that fit their interest. Rather, they are getting front button jackets, volunteer hours, and haircuts. Lastly, everyone from the community attends the Ceremony. As Readers learn from early on in the book, “The entire community attends the ceremony each year” (41). It does not matter if children do not know any of the people attending, they will be there. On the contrary, In modern society, people often get a day to themselves and are spoiled with gifts and sweets. As well as that, in today's society, friend and family often give people gifts, and not the government. Finally, in modern day, children invite who they want at their birthday party, and don’t just bring the entire community. Overall, the way that Jonas’s society celebrates their “birthday” shows that in that society, it is clearly not important for people to choose if they get to celebrate their birthday, because the Grand Elder chose for their citizens, and decided that everyone will celebrate in one day. However, in modern society, citizens do in fact have option to celebrate their birthdays or not. Modern day citizens also have the choice to i’ve each other different gifts, unlike Jonas’s
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