The chosen definition focuses on how The Giver's voice sounds to Jonas. But "bitter" also means "marked by strong resentment or cynicism" and "expressive of severe grief or regret"--these definitions could describe the feelings The Giver has, because his own daughter, unable to handle the pain of being chosen as a Receiver, was pushed to apply for release (without knowing exactly what it is).
The Giver turned to him. “Well, there you are, Jonas. You were wondering about release,” he said in a bitter voice.
The description almost sounds as if Jonas were giving birth, but what's emerging from him is not a crying baby but a crying realization that everything he had always known about life in the community is wrong. This pushes him to make plans to start a new life in order to save lives and to force the community to emerge from their own ignorance of the truths.
Jonas felt a ripping sensation inside himself, the feeling of terrible pain clawing its way forward to emerge in a cry.
marked by quiet and caution and secrecy; taking pains to avoid being observed
It was terribly dangerous because some of the work crews were still about, but he moved stealthily and silently, staying in the shadows, making his way past the darkened dwellings and the empty Central Plaza, toward the river.
pronounce a sentence on (somebody) in a court of law
"Condemn" also means "declare or judge unfit for use or habitation"--although this often applies to buildings, it could apply to Jonas, since a useless member of the community would receive condemnation ("strong disapproval") before being condemned to a sentence of release.
He thought of the rules he had broken so far: enough that if he were caught, now, he would be condemned.
Before he had left the dwelling, he had laid his hands firmly on Gabe’s back and transmitted to him the most soothing memory he could: a slow- swinging hammock under palm trees on an island someplace, at evening, with a rhythmic sound of languid water lapping hypnotically against a beach nearby.
someone who is sought by law officers; someone trying to elude justice
"Fugitive" also means "someone who flees from a situation that is uncongenial" ("very unfavorable to life or growth")--both definitions fit, since the community sends search planes after the lawbreakers, who are running towards an Elsewhere that would not have Receivers and releases.
Together the fugitives slept through the first dangerous day.
carefully observant or attentive; on the lookout for possible danger
As he pedaled through the nights, through isolated landscape now, with the communities far behind and no sign of human habitation around him or ahead, he was constantly vigilant, looking for the next nearest hiding place should the sound of engines come.
weakness characterized by a lack of vitality or energy
"Resignation" means "the act of giving up" or "acceptance of despair"--it is an emotional obstacle that is harder to overcome than physical lethargy, but Jonas, with the help of his warm memories and the reminder that Gabe is depending on him, finds the courage and strength to shake off both.
Warming himself ever so briefly had shaken away the lethargy and resignation and restored his will to survive.
The runners sliced through the snow and the wind whipped at his face as they sped in a straight line through an incision that seemed to lead to the final destination, the place that he had always felt was waiting, the Elsewhere that held their future and their past.