What is the major problem and solution in the book The Giver by Lois Lowry?

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The main problem that is presented in the The Giver is that no one in the community questions anything, nor do they really understand the reason for anything. Individuals have given up their own critical and individual abilities to make decisions in favor of the community Elders making those decisions for them.  Individuals do not have memories of their societal history, so they really are kept in the dark about why they do what they do. Even the community members’ feelings have been dulled over time, as Jonas begins to notice once he has felt deeper feelings through the memories. As a result, the community lives a very regulated life that is dictated by carefully crafted rules. The community faces no major problems or inconveniences and everything is routine. Life is easy.

The solution, toward the end of the novel, is that when Jonas leaves, the memories he has been given will be transferred back to the community. This will be hard for the community members because they have never been uncomfortable, let alone felt the type of emotional or physical pain that Jonas and the Giver have. The Giver thinks that this will help the community in the long run:

"I think they can [bear this burden], and they will acquire some wisdom. But it will be desperately hard for them. When we lost Rosemary ten years ago, and her memories returned to the people, they panicked" (Ch.20).

The Giver says they will need help in dealing with those memories that they get from Jonas, and that the Giver will be the one to help them with that burden. So, the solution is to help the community members begin to start remembering their past so they can have a true context for the life they currently live. Only then can they perhaps begin to question if this is a way of life they want to continue versus it being a life they were born into and never thought to question.

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