Jonas rides with Fiona to the House of the Old. She goes in the normal entrance for her training, and he heads to the Annex for his.
He buzzes at the door and is allowed inside. The female attendant stands and greets him as "Receiver of Memory," which makes him slightly uncomfortable. She then unlocks the door to The Receiver's room, which makes him even more uncomfortable, since doors in the community don't have locks on them.
Jonas goes through the door into what appears to be The Receiver's living area. It's got a bed, desk, table, etc.
Most shocking are the books. Until now, Jonas has only seen books for reference or rules. But here are shelves of books, about what he doesn't know.
And then Jonas suddenly realizes that, hey, the old Receiver is sitting in the corner. Jonas greets him and stumbles about awkwardly in his speech until the old man declares that Jonas is the new Receiver, so he himself isn't any longer.
When Jonas remarks on how old the man is (which is a compliment, somehow), the old man says he isn't as old as he looks, but the job has aged him considerably.
He then tells Jonas to feel free to ask as many questions as he wants. He explains that his job is to transmit to Jonas all the memories of the past.
Jonas says he has some experience with this, like listening to old people tell stories.
The old man explains that this isn't what he means; he won't be transmitting memories of his own personal past, but rather memories of the whole world. "It is how wisdom comes," he explains, "and how we shape our future."
He pauses to lament the terrible weight of all these memories.
It's like going downhill on a sled, he explains. At first it's quick and easy, until the snow builds up on the runners and then you have to push and push to keep going…
Then he stops, realizing that such a simile has no effect on Jonas, who doesn't know what "snow" or a "sled" or "runners" are. Or "downhill," for that matter.
The old man then orders Jonas to take off his tunic and lie face down on the bed. Jonas does so, and then watches the old man go to the wall and turn off the speaker. Every house he's ever been in has one, but Jonas has never seen a speaker with an "off" switch before.
Jonas asks the old man what he's going to do, and the old man puts his hands on Jonas's back, explaining that he's going to transmit the memory of snow.