What was unusual about Rosemary's release?
After Jonas is selected to be the community's next Receiver of Memory during the annual December ceremony, he reads his list of rules and is surprised to discover that he is prohibited from applying for release. Typically, all citizens eventually are released when they become elderly and enter the House of the Old. At this point in the story, Jonas is unaware that release is simply a euphemism for death. When he begins his training sessions, Jonas asks the Giver why he is not allowed to apply for release. The Giver proceeds to explain that ten years ago, the previous Receiver applied for release, and chaos ensued.
Rosemary was the Giver's daughter and the community's previous Receiver of Memory. She requested release after she could not endure the trauma and pain she experienced during the training sessions. Ten years before Jonas was selected, Rosemary applied for release and committed suicide. Instead of allowing a community attendant to release her, Rosemary injected the needle herself. Her release was unique because the memories she possessed spread throughout the atmosphere and became part of the public conscience. The entire community received Rosemary's traumatic memories, and everyone suffered. Eventually, the memories were able to be collected, and everything went back to normal. The Committee of Elders learned from their mistake and created the rule prohibiting the future Receiver of Memory from applying for release.
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