What do Jonas and the Giver contemplate in Chapter 18 of The Giver?

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Jonas and The Giver contemplate what would happen to the community if Jonas was no longer there.

When Jonas finds out what happened to Rosemary, he is very interested.  Rosemary was released after training as a Receiver of Memory.  She returned her memories to the community when she died.  This left them all sad and confused, and The Giver had to help them through it.

Jonas says he will never ask to be released (it’s not allowed), but he does wonder what would happen if he ever died in an accident, or left the community.  Jonas tells The Giver that the only way he was able to handle getting all the memories was that he had The Giver’s help.  He asks if the old man would also help the people.

The Giver was still deep in thought. After a moment, he said, "If you floated off in the river, I suppose I could help the whole community the way I've helped you. It's an interesting concept. I need to think about it some more. (Ch. 18, p. 145)

This is the beginning of Jonas’s escape plan.  He and The Giver decide to return the memories to the community, thereby eliminating Sameness once and for all.  In the next chapter, Jonas sees his father kill an innocent newborn, and his mind is made up.

A dystopia is a perfect world that turns out to be horrifically less than perfect.  Jonas realizes that his world is not the paradise he thought it was.  There are terrible things going on, and it is up to him to stop them. 

Lowry, Lois (1993-04-26). The Giver (Newbery Medal Book). Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. Kindle Edition.

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