What is Jonas's reaction to the first memory? What about the Giver?

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tinicraw eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The first memory that Jonas receives is in chapter 11 of Lowry's The Giver. It is also the same memory that the Giver himself received when he was in training as a young boy. The first memory is of the cold, a sled, and sliding down a hill of snow. Jonas, who has never experienced cold or snow, has an "exhilarating ride" (82). The Giver asks how he feels and Jonas uses the word surprised to describe the experience. But Jonas then learns that not only did he receive that memory, but the Giver actually gave it away. The Giver feels relieved, though--as if a light load has been lifted from his shoulders. Then Jonas feels guilty that he has the memory of sledding down the hill, but the Giver does not. He says the following:

"But it was such fun! And now you don't have it anymore! I took it from you!" (83).

The Giver explains that one memory does not compare to the thousands more that he has. The main idea to know from this scene is that the memories physically, psychologically, and emotionally weigh the Giver down. There is pain associated with bearing the weight of those memories. This means that Jonas will eventually bear the whole of this burden and the Giver will feel more and more relieved.