Chapter 15 Summary

Sometimes when Jonas meets with the Giver for training, the Elder is suffering from the pain of the memories that he alone carries on behalf of his community. When Jonas enters the Giver’s room today, the Elder is clearly suffering. On days such as this, Jonas is sent home, but before he leaves today, he asks if there is any way he can help. The Giver, desperate for release, asks Jonas to take on some of the pain. Jonas helps the Giver to his chair, then removes his tunic and lies on the bed to receive another painful memory. It is a memory of war.

The air smells foul, and there is tremendous noise. Men are lying everywhere on a field, groaning with pain. A horse moves among them before it falls—and does not rise again. A young boy, near Jonas’s age, begs for water though he can barely speak. The boy’s hair is matted, and when he speaks, more blood courses from his wounds and stains his gray uniform. The colors—the red of the blood, the green of the grass, and the yellow of the boy’s hair—are vivid. Inside the experience of the memory, Jonas reaches for his water container and discovers that his arm is immobilized. When he looks closer, he can see the splintered bone of his arm. With his other arm, he slowly and painfully passes water to the boy. Jonas watches as he drinks the water, and he watches as life leaves the man’s eyes. He can do nothing. The memory continues for hours as Jonas lies in the field, overwhelmed with pain, as cannons are fired and people die.

It is the most painful memory Jonas has yet experienced. When Jonas cannot bear to experience the memory any longer, he opens his eyes and discovers that he is back in the Annex room with the Giver. The Giver looks away from Jonas before asking for forgiveness.