What is the first memory Jonas receives in The Giver?

Quick answer:

Jonas finds the first memory he receives to be startling and thrilling. Jonas thoroughly enjoys the fun experience of sledding down a snowy hill and is surprised by the vivid memory. He is also excited by the sensation of snow and moving at a high speed during the memory, and he is surprised that he can simultaneously experience two separate consciousnesses. The Giver is completely exhausted after transferring the memory and feels like a weight has been lifted from him.

Expert Answers

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

At the end of Chapter 10 and the beginning of Chapter 11, we find out what the first memory that Jonas receives is.  We find out that the first memory the Giver gives him is the memory of snow and the sled.

At the end of Chapter 10, the Giver tells Jonas that he will give him a memory.  He tries to tell him what it will be but realizes that Jonas can't possibly understand because he doesn't know what snow is or a sled or runners or even a hill.

So at the start of Ch. 11, Jonas lies down and the Giver transmits the memory of sledding down a snowy hill.

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

What is Jonas's reaction to the first memory? What about the Giver?

In chapter 11, Jonas receives his first memory from the Giver during their training session and experiences the thrilling sensation of sledding down a steep, snowy hill. Initially, Jonas can only feel the Giver's hands on his back and tries his best to relax as the Giver begins transferring the memory. Suddenly, Jonas shivers and can feel the cold environment. Jonas finds the experience startling and enjoys the sensation of soft snow touching his body. Jonas is also aware that one part of his consciousness is in the Annex with the Giver while a separate part of his being is seated on a sled at the top of a snowy hill.

Jonas's new consciousness recognizes the words "sled" and "hill" before he begins his exciting ride. As Jonas travels downhill, he is overwhelmed by "the speed, the clear cold air, the total silence, the feeling of balance and excitement and peace." Finally, the snow accumulates around the runners at the bottom of the hill, and the memory comes to an end. Following the experience, Jonas tells the Giver that he felt surprised and thoroughly enjoyed the memory. The Giver explains to Jonas that he feels exhausted because retrieving and transferring a distant memory is extremely difficult and taxing. The Giver also mentions that he feels as if a small weight has been lifted from his consciousness. Overall, Jonas enjoys the fun memory of sledding down a snowy hill, while the Giver is completely exhausted after transferring the distant memory.

Last Updated on
An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

What is Jonas's reaction to the first memory? What about the Giver?

The first memory that the Giver transfers to Jonas is the exhilarating memory of sled riding down a snowy hill on a cold winter day. While the Giver is transferring the memory to Jonas, Jonas is thrilled to experience the exciting ride down the snowy hill. Once the sled ride ends, Jonas opens his eyes, and the Giver asks him how he feels. Jonas responds by telling the Giver that he feels surprised. After the Giver explains to Jonas that he no longer has the memory of sled riding down a hill, Jonas feels guilty and somewhat greedy for taking such a fun memory away from the Giver. In addition to feeling surprised and guilty, Jonas also feels perplexed. After experiencing the memory of sled riding, Jonas is suddenly full of numerous questions concerning the absence of things such as winter, snow, hills, and sleds.

In regard to the Giver's reaction to transferring the first memory of sled riding to Jonas, he tells Jonas that he feels quite exhausted because it was difficult for him to retrieve such an old memory. Apparently, the older a memory is, the harder it is for the Giver to retrieve and transfer it to Jonas. The Giver also informs Jonas that he feels lighter, like a weight has been lifted off his old body. The Giver also explains to Jonas that he has thousands of memories that he can transfer to him in their future sessions.

Last Updated on
An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

What is Jonas's reaction to the first memory? What about the Giver?

For his first experience as the Receiver, Jonas receives a memory of snow. He feels the cold air and the sensation of snow flakes landing on his skin and tongue. Though he is actually lying on a bed with his eyes closed, Jonas experiences the sights and sensations of the memory being transmitted. His mind seems to know the appropriate word for each new object or experience.

When the memory transmission ends, and the Giver asks Jonas how he feels, Jonas replies that he is "surprised." He is eager for his next experience. The Giver then shares with Jonas that by transmitting the memory to Jonas, he feels exhausted but "lightened." Jonas learns that although the Giver has many memories similar to the one he gave to Jonas, the Giver no longer possesses that particular memory.

Last Updated on
An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

What is Jonas's reaction to the first memory? What about the Giver?

The first memory that Jonas receives is in chapter 11 of Lowry's The Giver. It is also the same memory that the Giver himself received when he was in training as a young boy. The first memory is of the cold, a sled, and sliding down a hill of snow. Jonas, who has never experienced cold or snow, has an "exhilarating ride" (82). The Giver asks how he feels and Jonas uses the word surprised to describe the experience. But Jonas then learns that not only did he receive that memory, but the Giver actually gave it away. The Giver feels relieved, though--as if a light load has been lifted from his shoulders. Then Jonas feels guilty that he has the memory of sledding down the hill, but the Giver does not. He says the following:

"But it was such fun! And now you don't have it anymore! I took it from you!" (83).

The Giver explains that one memory does not compare to the thousands more that he has. The main idea to know from this scene is that the memories physically, psychologically, and emotionally weigh the Giver down. There is pain associated with bearing the weight of those memories. This means that Jonas will eventually bear the whole of this burden and the Giver will feel more and more relieved. 

Last Updated on
An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

How does The Giver transmit memories to Jonas?

The Giver transmits memories to Jonas through his Capacity to See Beyond.

We do not know exactly how the memories work.  We know that they are stored in people with the Capacity to See Beyond, and that they can also be transmitted to people who have that ability.  A Receiver of Memory also needs other traits, including intelligence, integrity and courage.  These traits help the Receiver deal with the memories and use them to the community’s advantage.

When The Giver transmits a memory to Jonas, all he does is touch him and think about a memory.  Then the memory is transmitted to Jonas, and he loses it himself.  The memory passes from one person to another.

The Giver tells Jonas to lie face down and remove his tunic.  Then he puts his hands on his back and transmits the memory.

"I am going to transmit the memory of snow," the old man said, and placed his hands on Jonas's bare back. (Ch. 10)

The Giver tells Jonas that just transmitting one memory lightens his load.  He continues to give Jonas a variety of memories, both positive and negative.  Jonas develops emotions, and learns to see and identify colors.  His life completely changes.

Jonas discovers that he has the ability to transmit memories as well as receive them when he accidentally sends a memory to Gabriel.

Still patting rhythmically, Jonas began to remember the wonderful sail that The Giver had given him not long before: a bright, breezy day on a clear turquoise lake, and above him the white sail of the boat billowing as he moved along in the brisk wind. (Ch. 14)

Jonas is not even aware that he is giving Gabe the memory, but the baby calms.  Like Jonas, Gabriel’s pale eyes indicate that he has the Capacity to See Beyond.

The Giver has all of the communities memories, given to him by his Giver.  His job is to advise the community based on the past, because the community has chosen to ignore the past except for the memories.  The Receiver of Memory protects the community from any strong emotions.  Only he or she knows pain, love, or fear.

Last Updated on
An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

What is the first memory transmitted to Jonas in The Giver?

The very first memory the Receiver transmits to Jonas is the memory of snow.  The Receiver asks Jonas to lie face down on the bed, and then he places his hands on Jonas's back.  Jonas relaxes as he is instructed to, and suddenly he feels the air change.  Everything is very cold, and although his eyes are closed, he sees "a bright, whirling torrent of crystals in the air around them".  Jonas discovers that he is sitting on a sled at the top of a "long, extended mound that (rises) from the very land where he (is)"; he is on a hill, something he has never before seen in the uniformly flat environment of his own community.  As he is wondering at his new surroundings, the sled begins to move down the hill on its runners.  Jonas enjoys for the first time "the breathless glee...the speed, the clear cold air, the total silence, the feeling of balance and excitement and peace" as he races through the pristing snow (Chapter 11).

Jonas receives this first memory during his initial meeting with the Receiver.  The Receiver had been describing how all the memories that he bears for the Community weigh him down.  He had compared the feeling to "going downhill through deep snow on a sled...at first it's exhilarating...but then the snow accumulates, builds up on the runners, and you slow, you have to push hard to keep going".  The Receiver then realizes that Jonas has no concept of snow or of any of the related ideas of which he is speaking.  He decides that transferring the memory of snow would be a good way to introduce Jonas to the memories which he will eventually have to bear for the Community when he takes the present Receiver's place (Chapter 10).

 

Last Updated on
An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

What is the first memory transmitted to Jonas in The Giver?

The first memory is of snow & sunshine, sledding and hills. This comes back to Jonas during his escape, as he sleds down the snowy hill. This may seem insignificant, but The Giver is starting off slowly, to ease Jonas into the burden he will receive. Indeed, The Giver tells him that even sharing such small memories is a great relief. Also, as the weather is, like everything, so carefully controlled in this society, even memories like snow offer an alternative to the existence they have built up.

Last Updated on
An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

In The Giver, what was Jonas's first painful memory?

I assume that you are asking about memories that the Giver gives Jonas that cause Jonas pain.  If so, the first such memory is when the Giver gives him the memory of a sunburn.  This is the first time in Jonas's life that he has ever felt pain of that sort.

Last Updated on
An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

In The Giver, what is the most important of the memories that the Giver gives Jonas?

I will identify two memories that I think are the most important that the Giver imparts to Jonas.  They are the memory of the war and the memory of the Christmas scene.

These two memories give Jonas a really good idea as to both the good and the bad of what can happen in a society that is less controlled than the one he lives in.  He sees the good of his society -- it prevents the tremendous pain and suffering that happens in war.  But he also sees the downside of his society.  He sees how happy people can become when they have families and love as in the Christmas memory.

These two memories, then, give him a pretty balanced view of what life in a different kind of society would be like.

Last Updated on
An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

What was the first memory the Giver gave to Jonas?

In chapter 11, the first memory the Giver transfers to Jonas during their training session is a memory of sled riding down a snowy hill. When the Giver places his hands on Jonas's bare back, Jonas experiences cold weather and tastes a snowflake for the first time. Jonas then proceeds to sit on a sled and experiences the exhilarating feeling of speeding down a snow-covered hill for the first time. After the Giver transfers the first memory of sled riding down a snowy hill to Jonas, Jonas begins asking him numerous questions regarding snow, hills, and sled riding. The Giver then explains to Jonas that the community discovered how to control the climate and altered the landscape to make transportation easier, which is why it does not snow in the community and there are no hills. Towards the end of the novel, Jonas ends up fleeing from his "utopian" community and travels to Elsewhere, where he ends up having the exact same experience on a sled with Gabriel as he did when he received his first memory from the Giver.

Last Updated on
An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

What was the first memory the Giver gave to Jonas?

The first memory transmitted to Jonas in The Giver is a memory of snow and sledding down the hill. As a part of achieving Sameness in the community, all weather variations and potential difficulties or discomforts - such as snow might create - have been eliminated. Therefore, the experience of snow is completely new and unexpected for Jonas.

Now he became aware of an entirely new sensation: pinpricks? No, because they were soft and without pain. Tiny, cold, feather-like feelings peppered his body and face. He put out his tongue again, and caught one of the dots of cold upon it. It disappeared from his awareness instantly; but he caught another, and another. The sensation made him smile.

Transmission of the memory was exhausting for the Giver but exhilarating for Jonas. The speed of movement on the sled, the excitement of the changing scenery, the adventure of the completely new activity - all were exciting and reassuring to a still somewhat apprehensive Jonas.

Last Updated on
An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

In The Giver, what does The Giver tell Jonas when he is transmitting the memories to Jonas?

The Giver tells Jonas to lie down with his shirt off and he places his hands on his back to transmit the memories.

The first time Jonas received a memory, he had no idea what was happening.  The Giver had tried to explain to him that the memories felt like he was sledding downhill, but Jonas had no understanding of sleds, hills, or snow.  The Giver told him that the first memory would be of snow then.

"Well, it's a place to start. I'd been wondering how to begin. Move to the bed, and lie face down. Remove your tunic first." (Ch. 10)

Jonas has been told that he will experience pain during his training, and that he needs courage.  This worries him a little.  No on in the community has ever really known pain, because if anyone gets hurt they are given pain relief medicine immediately.  Jonas knows the memories will sometimes hurt.

The Giver assures Jonas that the first memory will not hurt though.

"Close your eyes. Relax. This will not be painful." (Ch. 10)

This is pretty much the procedure for The Giver when giving all of the memories to Jonas.  After the first time, The Giver asks Jonas how he feels, and Jonas says that he is surprised.  Since he never experienced any kind of weather before and there are no hills, sledding is a completely new experience for him.  After the memory, the Giver wants to continue but Jonas has a lot of questions. 

For the second memory, The Giver tells Jonas that he wants to know if Jonas can come to understandings on his own.

"Lie quietly now. Since we've entered into the topic of climate, let me give you something else. And this time I'm not going to tell you the name of it, because I want to test the receiving. You should be able to perceive the name without being told. …” (Ch. 10)

The second memory is different from the first because instead of being cold, Jonas is warm.  He also is not told that it is sunshine he is experiencing.  The word and concept just come to him from the memory.

The procedure is pretty much the same for every transmission.  He asks Jonas to lie down, and sometimes tells him what he will give him and sometimes does not.  Jonas comes in one day and The Giver is in great pain.  He asks Jonas to take some of it.

See eNotes Ad-Free

Start your 48-hour free trial to get access to more than 30,000 additional guides and more than 350,000 Homework Help questions answered by our experts.

Get 48 Hours Free Access
Last Updated on