Jonas is assigned to be the next Receiver of Memory.
In Jonas’s community, all children are given an assignment at the Ceremony of Twelve. This assignment will lead them throughout their lives. Jonas is not given an assignment at the same time as his classmates. He is worried and confused when his name is skipped. Then he is told he has been selected as the new Receiver of Memory.
The Receiver was the most important Elder. Jonas had never even seen him, that he knew of; someone in a position of such importance lived and worked alone. (ch 2, p. 14)
The Receiver of Memory is an honorable job. This person advises the community, because he or she keeps all of the community’s memories and therefore has wisdom. The wisdom is largely due to the pain from the memories that the rest of the community would prefer to shield itself from.
As Receiver of Memory, Jonas learns all of his perfect community’s dirty little secrets. Eventually he is so horrified by them that he decides to leave, returning the memories to the people.
Lowry, Lois (1993-04-26). The Giver (Newbery Medal Book) (p. 14). Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. Kindle Edition.