At a Glance
Jonas lives in a seemingly utopian society where conformity equates to happiness. At the Ceremony of Twelve, where all twelve-year-old children receive their lifelong job assignments, Jonas is surprised to learn that he has been chosen to be the new Receiver of Memory.
- The elderly Receiver of Memory acts as a reservoir for all the community's memories of the past and Elsewhere, the rest of the world. The Receiver asks Jonas to call him the Giver, then begins transferring his memories to Jonas, showing him snow, love, pain, and color.
- One day, Jonas asks what "release" means in the context of their society. The Giver shows Jonas a baby being euthanized by Jonas' own father, a Nurturer who cares for infants before they're either assigned to a family or euthanized. Jonas' father takes in a baby, Gabriel, in the hopes of preventing his "release."
- Fueled by his knowledge of the euthanizations, Jonas escapes into Elsewhere with Gabriel, aware that once he leaves all his memories will be returned to the people. Jonas and Gabriel brave the cold as they cross the border. The novel ends when Jonas sees a warmly lit house with a Christmas tree.