In The Giver, what is the job of the Receiver of Memory? Why is it important? 

The job of the Receiver of Memory is to possess all memories of the past before Sameness to protect citizens from experiencing any pain, discomfort, or trauma. The Receiver of Memory also advises the Committee of Elders when it makes significant decisions. Since the Receiver preserves knowledge of the past, they have the wisdom to make an informed decision about how a given policy will impact the community.

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The Receiver of Memory is one of the most important and most valuable jobs in the Community. To sustain the peace and stability of the Community and to maintain Sameness, all of the pain, suffering and negative emotions and all of the previous memories and experiences of the people, as well as color, sounds and strong feelings and sensations have been erased from the people's minds and given to the Receiver of Memory. Thus, the Receiver's job is to keep the memories of everyone and to advise the Committee of Elders whenever it is necessary and whenever they seek guidance or have difficulties coming to a decision. The previous Receiver of Memory is called the Giver, and they are the one who passes or gives the memories to the chosen Receiver.

To be chosen as the new Receiver of Memory, one must show exceptional intelligence, integrity, courage, and wisdom, as well as the Capacity to See Beyond. Whoever is chosen as the Receiver of Memory must have and show these essential qualities and attributes, as the entire Community basically depends on the Receiver's ability to do their job. The Receiver's advice impacts the way the Community operates and even the way the people will behave. Jonas, the main character of the novel, is chosen to be the new Receiver of Memory.

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Jonas lives in an allegedly "utopian" community, where people must adhere to strict laws and conform to society's culture to maintain stability and comfort. Jonas's community is also founded on the principles of Sameness. Sameness eliminates individuality, transforms the natural landscape, and alters how citizens experience the world. There are no colors, animals, feelings, or exciting experiences in Jonas's community. There is also no pain, discomfort, or emotional trauma.

In order to maintain a uniform, stable environment, the Receiver of Memory is required to harness all memories of the past before Sameness. These memories include traumatic experiences like war, famine, pain, and disease. The Receiver also holds positive memories like color, music, love, and pleasant experiences. The Receiver is tasked with securing these valuable memories of life before Sameness to protect the population from any form of suffering.

Before Jonas was selected to be the community's next Receiver of Memory, a previous Receiver committed suicide, and her memories spread through the community. The naive, sensitive population struggled to deal with the traumatic memories, and chaos ensued until the memories were collected.

Unfortunately, even seemingly positive memories like family and love are considered a threat to the community's stability and only survive in the Receive of Memory's mind. In addition to preserving memories of the past and protecting the population from trauma, the Receiver's main job is to advise the Committee of Elders when it makes a significant decision. The Receiver has the wisdom to make an informed decision because they recall life before Sameness. For example, the Receiver advised the committee to not increase the population because it could result in starvation and warfare.

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Since man is in an imperfect state, in order to create a perfect state, those who would design utopias find that certain controls must be created. Such is the case in Lois Lowry's dystopian society in which the environment is controlled, population is controlled, hormonal activity is controlled, and thoughts are controlled. The memory of anything that caused pain or emotional or mental disturbance has been erased in the general population. Because there has been this eradication of negative conditions in the human body and psyche, some of the positive results of the human condition have also been eradicated. One such positive aspect of pain and misfortune is that people learn from such experiences and can, thus, make wiser judgments about present and future dilemmas that present themselves.

The Receiver of Memory has the remembrance of the past transmitted to him. He receives such memories as pain and suffering, color, emotions, and many sensations such as that of feeling sunshine, rain, cold, heat, etc. The purpose of the Giver is explained to the Receiver:

...when they [the Committee of the Elders] are faced with something that they have not experienced before. Then they call upon me to use the memories and advise them. But it very seldom happens.

The purpose of the Receiver of Memory is to hold these important memories that can be used for advising the Elders. He will be the successor to the Giver and be called upon to advise the Elders in times of need by tapping into the past. The Giver tells Jonas, who is the new Receiver of Memory, that a previous Receiver was once released, and the memories that she held were lost. When these memories were needed later on, "It was chaos." The Elders struggled and suffered until they assimilated these memories. "But it certainly made them aware of how they need a Receiver to contain all that pain. Everyone had access to memories."

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