| Quote #1
There were only two occasions of release which were not punishments. Release of the elderly, which was a time of celebration for a life well and fully lived; and the release of a newchild, which always brought a sense of what-could-we-have-done. This was especially troubling for the Nurturers, like Father, who felt they had failed somehow. But it happened rarely. (1.52)
Here is the first connection between the very young and the very old in The Giver. These two groups are almost treated like different citizens than everyone else in the community; they have special privileges, but are also subject to different rules.
| Quote #2
Last night he had watched as his father bathed the newchild. This was much the same: the fragile skin, the soothing water, the gentle motion of his hand, slippery with soap. The relaxed, peaceful smile on the woman's face reminded him of Gabriel being bathed. (4.21)
Jonas identifies another similarity between the very young and the very old: peaceful innocence. The elderly, like the young, have no responsibilities and seem to live an easier life.
| Quote #3
Jonas nodded. The man was wrinkled, and his eyes, though piercing in their unusual lightness, seemed tired. The flesh around them was darkened into shadowed circles.
If the Old have no memories or wisdom, why are they so highly respected? Are they truly respected?