Expert Answers

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

The Giver is a young adult novel about a community in which everyone has a specific job that they are chosen for. There is no color or climate in the community, and no one has any memories. The purpose of this is to create a structured, ordered society without pain and with a true sense or equality among its members. The Giver's role in the community is to hold all the memories to aid the community when decisions must be made. However the Giver, in his old age, must choose a new person to pass his memories to. This person is Jonas, the main character in the novel.

As Jonas begins his training, he is told about Rosemary, The Giver's daughter, who was previously chosen to receive her father's memories. She was in training for only five weeks when she was unable to handle the dark memories and asked to be released from the community. Upon her release, the memories that she had already received were given back to the community, which devastated the community. In present day, no one speaks of Rosemary or what happened to her, but it is later revealed that there is not another place those who are released are sent. Instead of being released, they are killed, and Rosemary willfully committed suicide by asking for release.

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

Rosemary was a Receiver-in-Training, the daughter of the Giver, who imparts his knowledge to Jonas, his new trainee.

In Chapter 18 Jonas asks the Giver about the concept of release. The Giver tells Jonas that he cannot be released until the new Receiver is named. The Giver tells Jonas,

"I know that. They hammered out those rules after the failure ten years ago."

This rule on no release came about after a Receiver-in-training named Rosemary abruptly asked for release after having been given memories of pain. The Giver tells Jonas that he loved Rosemary, but he had to impart such memories as loneliness to her. "She appeared stunned at its end." Then, one afternoon, Rosemary kissed the Giver on the cheek and left the room, and he never saw her again.

When Rosemary was released, her memories were also released into the community and the people were traumatized by the sensations of pain because they were unequipped to handle them. As he listens, it becomes clear to Jonas that the Giver has been greatly affected, but Jonas still does not fully understand release until he watches a video that shows his father releasing an infant. This new knowledge greatly affects Jonas, causing the Giver, who has been deliberating upon the ills of his community, to decide that memories must come back to the community because there are terrible flaws to their lives, one of them being euthanasia. It is then that the Giver reveals to Jonas that Rosemary injected herself, committing suicide, and that she was his daughter. 

Approved by eNotes Editorial Team

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