The decision of the Committee
In the very first chapter of the novel The Giver by Lois Lowry, the speakers voice announces that the pilot of the jet will be released because he flew on a wrong route. Jonas explains that this is a severe punishment: "For a contributing citizen to be released from the community was a final decision, a terrible punishment, an overwhelming statement of failure.” (Chapter 1, 18%).
Apart from that, release is used as a punishment for repeat offenders when they have done wrong three times. Release is a means of pressure to ensure that community members abide by the rules.
However, release is not used only as a punishment:
There were only two occasions of release which were not punishment. Release of the elderly, which was a time of celebration for a life well and fully lived; and release of a newchild, which always brought a sense of what-could-we-have-done. (Chapter 1, 73%).
Newborn babies who do not develop properly are released. Old people who are considered no longer productive are also released. Before it happens, a Ceremony of Release is held together with the other residents of the House of the Old. Children are not allowed to be present, only the other old residents in the House of the Old and the nurses take part in the ceremony.
People talk about the life of the person scheduled to be released, then they make a toast. After everyone has sung the anthem together, another good-bye speech is given.
The release of the unwanted members of the community is reminiscent of the practice of euthanasia by the Nazis. However, average citizens also have a right to be released, although no one uses it....