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The Giver explains Rosemary's story to Jonas in chapter 18 after Jonas asks why he cannot request to be released. The Giver proceeds to tell Jonas that ten years ago, the previous Receiver, who was named Rosemary, was given five consecutive weeks of positive memories during her training. The Giver admits that he loved Rosemary and could not bear giving her physically painful memories. Instead, the Giver transferred the emotionally difficult memories of loneliness, anguish, and loss. Rosemary insisted that the Giver continue to share painful memories, and she eventually became overwhelmed with depression. One afternoon, Rosemary requested to be released, and her painful memories were somehow distributed throughout the community when she died, which caused chaos and extreme anguish. The Giver tells Jonas that the community had a difficult time coping with the terrible feelings that they had never experienced before, which is why it is written into Jonas's rules that he cannot request to be released.

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It is in Chapter 18 that the Receiver tells Jonas the story of what happened to the previous person selected to be the new Receiver. Up until now, her story has been a big mystery. All we know is that it ended very badly. The Giver tells Jonas that her name was Rosemary. When he began to transmit bad memories to her she was not able to take the pain and realisation of these strange emotions and sights. She insisted, however, that the Giver continued to transmit bad memories to her until, one day, after a particularly difficult session, Rosemary got up and went directly to the Chief Elder to demand that she be released. The Receiver goes on to tell Jonas later that she asked to inject herself when she was released. She was not able to accept the existence of emotions and pain, fear and loneliness, which had been eradicated by the Community.

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