In The Giver, what might have happened in the community during the days following Jonas’s escape?

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gmuss25 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Jonas is assigned to be the community's next Receiver of Memory, and it says in his rules that he is not allowed to apply for release. The reason behind this rule stems from an incident explained in chapter 18: the previous Receiver of Memory was named Rosemary, and she applied for release because she could not handle the pain involved in the assignment. When she was released her negative memories flooded the community, which caused the citizens a significant amount of anguish and grief. The Giver tells Jonas that if he were to fall in the river accidentally, Jonas's years worth of memories would be too much for the community to handle.

Towards the end of the novel, Jonas plans to leave the community, and the Giver agrees to stay behind to help the citizens cope with the loose memories. Judging from the previous loss of Rosemary, one can assume that the people would panic and suffer once they experience Jonas's negative memories.

However, the wise Giver may also have developed a solution by advising the Council to adapt their ways of life, which would have altered the rigidity of their community based on conformity and comfort. Since the memories cannot be transferred back to the Giver, the citizens might learn from the world's ills and consider the positive memories of a free life. Over time, the loose memories may impact their community in a positive way as the citizens learn that an unpredictable life is better than the safe, restrictive alternative.