The Giver Questions and Answers
by Lois Lowry

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In The Giver, what is the role of the Reciever, besides receiving the memories from the Giver?

In The Giver, besides receiving the community's memories from the giver, the role of Receiver of Memory is to bear all of humanity's pain and suffering. The community is one that is shielded from strong emotions. Jonas's job as the Receiver of Memory is thus to experience those emotions for all. Moreover, he must prevent the community from making past mistakes and thus has to make decisions for the entire community.

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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...

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