Jonas has been thinking a lot about what happened to Rosemary, a previous Receiver of Memory and the Giver's daughter. After just five weeks of training, Rosemary found that she just couldn't handle all the dark memories and asked to be released from the community.
Once she was released, all these memories were returned to the community, causing widespread sadness, confusion, and devastation that the Giver had to help everyone get through.
Jonas wonders what would happen if, for the sake of argument, he left the community. Specifically, he wants to know what the Giver would do in such a scenario—if he would help the people as he did when Rosemary returned the memories she'd received from her father to the community.
After a moment or two of thought, the Giver gives Jonas his considered opinion:
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.
These comments are highly significant in that they foreshadow Jonas's eventual escape from the community. If he ever does leave the community, for whatever reason, he can be confident that the Giver will step into the breach as he did before.
In due course, however, the Giver and Jonas will make the decision to return the memories to the community, thus bringing to an end the stifling tyranny of Sameness.