Study Guide

The Giver Chapter 11 Summary

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Chapter 11

  • Jonas chills out on the bed and waits for the memory of snow.
  • All of a sudden, he's very cold. He can no longer feel the old man's hands on his back. He feels something like pinpricks on his skin, and sticks out his tongue to catch the falling white things.
  • Part of him, he feels, is still lying on the bed in the Annex. But the other part is somewhere else, sitting on a hard surface with a rope in his hands.
  • All of a sudden, he knows that he is surrounded by snow and that he's sitting on a sled. He then races downhill, fast at first, until the snow piles up and the runners come to a standstill.
  • Then he opens his eyes and is back in the room with the old man.
  • The old man says that was tiring for him, but that he feels lightened because he gave away one memory.
  • Jonas asks if that means the old man doesn't have that particular memory anymore. The Receiver admits that, yes, this is true, but he has thousands of memories just like it, so he won't miss it.
  • Jonas wants to know why they don't have things like that anymore—snow or sleds or runners or anything. The old man explains that this is a very, very old memory that's been passed through generations of Receivers. The reason they don't have snow anymore is because of climate control. Weather that wasn't conducive to growing crops was essentially eliminated when they "went to Sameness."
  • This "Sameness," as he calls it, is also why the community has no hills. They slow down transportation.
  • When Jonas mentions something about the old man having a lot of power, the old man corrects him. He has honor, but not power.
  • Anyway, it's time to transmit another memory. This time, though, the old man doesn't want to tell Jonas the name—he wants to see if Jonas can tell just from the memory what everything is called.
  • The old man begins to transmit the memory. Jonas identifies warmth coming from the sky and decides that this mysterious thing is called "sunshine." This, too, we are told, was done away with when they went to Sameness.
  • The old man decides they are done for the day. Before he goes, Jonas asks why the Chief Elder talked about this job being a painful one.
  • The old man explains that it will be painful, but that his "previous failure" taught him that he should start with pleasant memories first.
  • Since Jonas is all, "Bring it on, baby," so the old man transmits one last memory for the day: sunburn.
  • As he's leaving, Jonas says that he's not sure what to call the old man; if Jonas himself is now The Receiver, what is the old man?
  • The man replies that he is now The Giver.

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