What are the qualities that a Receiver of Memory must have in The Giver?

In The Giver, the qualities the Receiver of Memory must possess include intelligence, integrity, courage, and wisdom. Jonas must also possess the Capacity to See Beyond, which is a unique ability the other citizens do not possess. In Jonas, the Capacity to See Beyond manifests itself in his ability to see in color.

Expert Answers

An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

According to the Chief Elder, the community's next Receiver of Memory must possess five distinct attributes. The first quality the Receiver of Memory must possess is intelligence. The Chief Elder then mentions that the entire committee is aware of Jonas's intelligence by his exemplary performance in school. Jonas is one of the top students and someone the committee can trust to carefully assess specific issues and give accurate advice if necessary.

The Receiver of Memory must also possess integrity. In the past, Jonas has demonstrated integrity by accepting responsibility for committing minor transgressions, which proves that he is honest and forthright. The Chief Elder then discusses courage. She goes on to explain that Jonas's assignment will require pain. Only the Giver understands the courage needed to fulfill the difficult role and knows the magnitude of pain Jonas will experience during their training sessions.

Jonas then learns that he must possess wisdom, which is something he has not acquired yet. Jonas will eventually acquire wisdom through his training sessions and gain perspective on the past. The fifth and final quality the Receiver of Memory must possess is the Capacity to See Beyond. Jonas does not fully understand this ability but has begun to see in color. Later in the story, the Giver explains the Capacity to See Beyond, and Jonas begins seeing everything in color.

Last Updated by eNotes Editorial on
An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

When Jonas is confused as to why he was skipped when jobs were being assigned at the Ceremony of Twelve, the Chief Elder informs him that he has been selected to be the new Receiver of Memory, a seemingly very prestigious role in the community though Jonas is unsure of its true nature as of yet. The Chief Elder then goes on to describe the qualities that the receiver must have.

The Chief Elder lists the necessary qualities as: Intelligence, Integrity, Courage, and Wisdom. Furthermore, she lists the mysterious trait of being able to "see beyond." The Elders seem quite sure that Jonas either possesses or has the potential for all of these traits, and as he thinks it over, Jonas believes it himself. Though he is uncertain of the implication, he has before felt himself beginning to "see beyond."

Approved by eNotes Editorial Team
An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

In chapter 8, the Chief Elder explains to the community that Jonas has been selected to be the next Receiver of Memory. She continues to elaborate on the significance of Jonas's Assignment by mentioning the four attributes that each candidate for Receiver of Memory must have.

The first quality that a Receiver of Memory must have is intelligence. Jonas is an intelligent boy, who is considered one of the top students in his class. The second quality that Jonas must possess is courage. Jonas must have courage in order to endure the difficulties of his Assignment. Throughout Jonas's Assignment, he is forbidden to take medicine to relieve the pain he will experience during his training. The third attribute that Jonas must have is wisdom. The Chief Elder says that Jonas will acquire wisdom through his training. The fourth quality that Jonas must have is the Capacity to See Beyond. Jonas has the unique ability to see color while the rest of the population can only perceive variations of gray.

Approved by eNotes Editorial Team
An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

When Jonas is selected as Receiver of Memory by the Committee of Elders during the Ceremony of Twelve, he is told that he was chosen for his special qualities.  These are: intelligence, integrity, courage, wisdom, and the capacity to see beyond.

Jonas has shown “all of the qualities that a Receiver must have" (ch 8), but he needs to acquire wisdom.  Since Jonas is an intelligent and thoughtful boy, the Elders are sure that he can develop wisdom through his training.

Integrity refers to the idea that Jonas has character.  He is a good person.  Courage is necessary for his role, because he will be venturing into the realm of memories.  There will be great physical pain and mental anguish.

The capacity to see beyond is what makes Jonas unique.  He is beginning to see color, when no one else in the community can.

"I think it's true," he told the Chief Elder and the community. "I don't understand it yet. I don't know what it is. But sometimes I see something. And maybe it's beyond." (ch 8, p. 64)

Because of these special qualities, Jonas is selected Receiver of Memory.  Only one person at a time is able to take on this role, so it is a very important one.  Jonas does not know it yet, but he is instrumental in keeping the community in sameness by holding the memories of the past, back and back and back.  Witht the memories, his life is about to change forever. He will never look at the community the same way again.

 

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

Approved by eNotes Editorial Team
Soaring plane image

We’ll help your grades soar

Start your 48-hour free trial and unlock all the summaries, Q&A, and analyses you need to get better grades now.

  • 30,000+ book summaries
  • 20% study tools discount
  • Ad-free content
  • PDF downloads
  • 300,000+ answers
  • 5-star customer support
Start your 48-Hour Free Trial