In The Giver, what is the role of the Reciever, besides receiving the memories from the Giver?
The Receiver of Memory is in training to eventually become the highest leader in the community. The position is so respected that when the Elders cannot arrive at a decision, they leave the ultimate determination up to the Receiver of Memory. Because these types of community decisions require much information that the citizens are shielded from, the Receiver must acquire all the memories of the past. As such, he or she must learn to recognize complex emotions never experienced before, such as fear and love.
The Receiver must learn to live separate and apart, conditioning himself to a life of near isolation since no one else would understand the experiences of his daily life. In fact, there are rules that forbid discussing the training with anyone, including parents.
Learning about and processing an entire history of the world is also included in this role. Jonas is so confused by this component of training that he asks,
The whole world? I don't understand. Do you mean it's not just us? Not just the community? Do you mean Elsewhere, too? ...I don't know what you mean when you say "the whole world" or "generations before him." I thought there was only us. I thought there was only now.
This new knowledge forces an entirely new construct of what the world and its history is and has been. It is so far removed from citizens' lives, who exist only in the present, that this component alone takes much training.
Through the training, the Receiver's role is to gain wisdom. This process is at times painful but allows the Receiver to guide the community through difficulties which arise through their intentional lack of experience. As a wise leader, the Receiver is relied upon by the community to be their ultimate source of instruction and guide them in the proper directions.