The previous Receiver of Memory's job was to preserve the memories of humanity's past before Sameness and to consult the Committee of Elders when they needed his advice concerning certain policy decisions. The previous Receiver of Memory's job is to also train the new Receiver of Memory.
In the story, Jonas is selected to be the new Receiver of Memory during the annual Ceremony of Twelve. When Jonas arrives at the Annex to begin training for his new Assignment, the previous Receiver of Memory informs Jonas that he is now the Giver of Memory. The Giver's job is to transfer the preserved memories of humanity's past to Jonas, who is the community’s new Receiver of Memory. The Giver is depicted as an older man who is extremely wise and lonely. The Giver proceeds to transfer humanity's memories—both positive and negative—to Jonas, which is an arduous task. As Jonas receives the memories, he gains perspective on his community and gradually desires to alter his society for the better.