The Giver

When Jonas first meets the Receiver, who greets him as the new Receiver of Memory and tells him that although he, the old receiver, is not as old as he looks, he will need to use the last of his strength to train Jonas. How does Jonas respond to the recei


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The Receiver welcomes Jonas as The Receiver of Memory, telling Jonas that he has been The Receiver for a long time, although he is less old than he looks, and that it will require his remaining strength to train Jonas. He invites Jonas to ask him questions, but Jonas does not respond, so he explains that his task is to transmit his memories of the past to Jonas, who does not understand why it is so important that The Receiver tell him his memories. The Receiver then reveals that his memories are those of the whole world, including previous generations and those from Elsewhere outside of the community. Experiencing the memories gives him wisdom but weighs on him terribly; it is like riding downhill on a sled, which becomes harder as it goes, with the speed and exhilaration fading while the snow accumulates on the runners and slows it down. Realizing that Jonas does not understand the meaning of terms such as snow, sled, runners, and downhill, he tells Jonas to take off his tunic. He turns the speaker off, which astonishes Jonas since no one else has that ability, and he places his hands on Jonas's back to transmit the memory of snow.

"Sir, I apologize for my lack of understanding..... "

He waited, but the man did not give the standard accepting-ofapology response. After a moment, Jonas went on, "But I thought--I mean I think," he corrected, reminding himself that if precision of language were ever to be important, it was certainly important now, in the presence of this man, "that you are the Receiver of Memory. I'm only, well, I was only assigned, I mean selected, yesterday. I'm not anything at all. Not yet."

The man looked at him thoughtfully, silently. It was a look that combined interest, curiosity, concern, and perhaps a little sympathy as well. Finally he spoke. "Beginning today, this moment, at least to me, you are the Receiver.


The Giver