The Use of Euphemism in "The Giver"

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About this sample

About this sample


Words: 868 |

Pages: 2|

5 min read

Published: Mar 20, 2024

Words: 868|Pages: 2|5 min read

Published: Mar 20, 2024

Table of contents

  1. The Concept of "Release"
  2. The Suppression of Emotions
  3. The Illusion of Sameness
  4. Conclusion

Lois Lowry’s novel "The Giver" is a thought-provoking and controversial work that delves into the concept of a utopian society that ultimately sacrifices individual freedoms and emotions. The use of euphemism in the novel plays a crucial role in shaping the reader's understanding of this dystopian world. Euphemism refers to the use of mild or indirect words or expressions to substitute for harsh or blunt ones. The novel employs euphemisms to mask the true nature of the society and to control the thoughts and emotions of its citizens. This essay will explore the examples of euphemism in "The Giver" and analyze their significance in conveying the themes of control, conformity, and the suppression of individuality.

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The Concept of "Release"

One of the most prominent examples of euphemism in "The Giver" is the concept of “release.” In the society depicted in the novel, the term "release" is used to signify both death and euthanasia. However, the citizens of the community are not aware of the true meaning of "release" and are led to believe that it is a peaceful and honorable event. The use of euphemism in this context serves to obscure the reality of death and euthanasia, thus maintaining control over the citizens’ perceptions of mortality and the value of life. By employing euphemisms, the governing body in the novel manipulates the thoughts and emotions of its citizens, ultimately enforcing conformity and obedience.

According to linguist Geoffrey Hughes, euphemisms are often used to “soften” or “mask” harsh or unpleasant realities, thereby making them more palatable to the general public. In the case of "The Giver," the euphemism of "release" serves to perpetuate the illusion of a harmonious and compassionate society, while concealing the true nature of the community's practices. This manipulation of language and perception is a powerful tool in the hands of the ruling authority, allowing them to maintain control and suppress individual dissent.

The Suppression of Emotions

Another example of euphemism in "The Giver" is the use of language to suppress and control emotions. In the community depicted in the novel, emotions are tightly regulated and individuals are discouraged from expressing their feelings openly. Euphemistic language is used to downplay the intensity of emotions and to discourage individuals from delving too deeply into their own emotional experiences. For example, the term "stirrings" is used to refer to sexual desires, and individuals who experience "stirrings" are required to take medication to suppress these feelings. By using euphemisms to label and control emotions, the society in "The Giver" seeks to maintain a sense of order and uniformity among its citizens.

Psychologist Steven Pinker notes that euphemisms can serve as a form of social control, shaping the way individuals perceive and express their emotions. In the context of "The Giver," the use of euphemistic language to suppress emotions reflects the society's fear of individuality and its desire to maintain a controlled and predictable population. By discouraging the open expression of emotions and using euphemisms to label and regulate them, the ruling authority in the novel reinforces its power and influence over the citizens.

The Illusion of Sameness

Furthermore, euphemism is utilized in "The Giver" to perpetuate the illusion of sameness and uniformity within the community. The term "precision of language" is used to describe the strict adherence to euphemistic language and the avoidance of emotional or imprecise expressions. This emphasis on precise and euphemistic language reinforces the idea of sameness and conformity among the citizens, discouraging individual expression and diversity of thought.

According to linguist Kate Burridge, euphemisms can be used to create and maintain a sense of social cohesion and harmony by promoting a shared understanding of acceptable language and behavior. In the context of "The Giver," the euphemistic language serves to reinforce the community's emphasis on sameness and conformity, thus perpetuating the illusion of a harmonious and orderly society. By controlling language and expressions through euphemism, the ruling authority in the novel is able to maintain its power and suppress the individuality of its citizens.


In conclusion, the use of euphemism in "The Giver" plays a significant role in shaping the reader's understanding of the dystopian society depicted in the novel. Through the manipulation of language and the use of euphemistic expressions, the ruling authority in the novel maintains control over the thoughts, emotions, and behaviors of its citizens. Euphemisms are employed to conceal the harsh realities of death and euthanasia, suppress and regulate emotions, and promote the illusion of sameness and conformity within the community. By analyzing the examples of euphemism in "The Giver," we gain insight into the powerful role of language in shaping perceptions, controlling emotions, and perpetuating social control.

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Ultimately, "The Giver" serves as a compelling exploration of the ways in which language and euphemism can be used to manipulate and control individuals within a dystopian society. The novel challenges readers to consider the implications of euphemistic language and the ways in which it can be used to suppress individuality and perpetuate social control. By critically examining the examples of euphemism in "The Giver," we can gain a deeper understanding of the complex and thought-provoking themes presented in the novel.

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Dr. Charlotte Jacobson

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The Use of Euphemism in “The Giver”. (2024, March 20). GradesFixer. Retrieved July 15, 2024, from
“The Use of Euphemism in “The Giver”.” GradesFixer, 20 Mar. 2024,
The Use of Euphemism in “The Giver”. [online]. Available at: <> [Accessed 15 Jul. 2024].
The Use of Euphemism in “The Giver” [Internet]. GradesFixer. 2024 Mar 20 [cited 2024 Jul 15]. Available from:
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