In The Giver, who was the former Receiver of Memories?

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pohnpei397 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

We are shown the answer to this question in Chapter 18 of The Giver.  (I have this book on Kindle and cannot give page numbers.)  We find that a Receiver of Memories was selected ten years before Jonas but that she did not work out.  She was a girl named Rosemary.

In Chapter 18, the Giver answers Jonas’s questions about the previous Receiver.  He tells Jonas that he had loved the previous receiver just as he now feels love for Jonas.  He tells Jonas how much it hurt him to have to transmit painful memories to the previous Receiver.  Jonas’s parents have told him that the previous Receiver’s name was no longer to be spoken in the community, but the Giver tells Jonas that it was Rosemary.

The Giver goes on to tell Jonas that Rosemary eventually became unable to handle the weight of the memories he was giving her.  One day, she kissed the Giver on the cheek at the end of their session.  She never came back again because, instead, she went to the Chief Elder and asked to be released.  Since this was not prohibited in the rules at that time (it was prohibited by the rules when Jonas was selected), the release was granted and disaster ensued as the memories Rosemary had been given came back to the community.

So, the name of the previous Receiver of Memories was Rosemary.  At the very end of Chapter 20, you will find out an important and startling (and heartbreaking) fact about her and The Giver.