Why does The Giver have all of the memories instead of the community in The Giver?

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More than anything else, this is a practical arrangement. On the one hand, the community can't completely banish memories of the past, no matter how hard it tries. On the other hand, if such memories were allowed to reside in the community as a whole, then that would defeat the...

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More than anything else, this is a practical arrangement. On the one hand, the community can't completely banish memories of the past, no matter how hard it tries. On the other hand, if such memories were allowed to reside in the community as a whole, then that would defeat the whole purpose of Sameness—which is to banish those things from the community apt to cause pain and disturbance.

That being the case, it makes sense from a practical standpoint to put all the memories in the safekeeping of a single trusted wise man, The Giver, who can drawn upon them as and when he needs to in order to advise the Council of Elders as to the best course of action in running the community.

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Generations back, when the community went to Sameness, they decided that individuals in the community did not need individual memories of their communal past. While they do contain memories of joy, they also contain memories of pain, and these are burdensome to the community. Also, in having access to the memories, individuals are better able to make personal choices, and that would be counter-productive to a world where everyone needs to be the same.

In Ch. 14 the Giver explains that Jonas and The Giver must hold all the memories because:

"It gives us wisdom. Without wisdom I could not fulfill my function of advising the Committee of Elders when they call upon me" (Ch. 14).

Even the Elders who make all of the decisions for the community do not have these communal memories. They depend on the Giver to advise them based on his memories of what has happened before. 

Ultimately, the Giver explains, "everyone would be burdened and pained" if the community held onto the memories and "they don't want that." So, one unlucky person, the Receiver of Memory, gets to be the memory bank for the entire community.

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