In The Giver, memories are a source of wisdom, but also of pain. We learn that the latter is the cost of the former. We learn from mistakes, and without the memory of those mistakes, we cannot actively make decisions about the future. The novel also argues that memories are meant to be shared; there is a value in the collective knowledge of a generation, and in the way that knowledge is passed on to others. Without the sharing of memories, the memories themselves are of no use.
Questions About Memory and the Past
- What is the value of memory in The Giver? Why does the community need it preserved?
- What are the consequences of giving only one person the responsibility of keeping all the memories?
- What's the difference between personal memories and the general memories that The Giver passes on to Jonas? Which of these two does Jonas rely on at the end of the novel? Are you sure about that? Better go read the end again.
Chew on This
Jonas does his community a service by leaving and releasing the memories to the public.
Jonas's decision to abandon his community is selfish.