Study Guide

The Giver Chapter 18 Summary

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Chapter 18

  • The next time he sees The Giver, Jonas asks him about release.
  • The Giver admits that he sometimes wishes he could be released, but he knows he's not allowed to do so until he trains Jonas.
  • Jonas knows he can't ask for a release either; that's in the rules.
  • The Giver then explains that they made those rules ten years ago, after the failure with the other Receiver.
  • Jonas wants to know more about her. He asks her name, and The Giver reveals that it was Rosemary. He remarks that her eyes were "very luminous." He explains that she was very intelligent, very eager to learn, and that he felt love for her, just as Jonas experienced in the memory of Christmas morning.
  • This emotion made it very difficult for The Giver to cause her any sort of pain. So for five weeks he gave her only happy memories.
  • But the time came when he knew he had to do his duty. He didn't want to cause her any physical anguish, so he transferred only memories of emotional pain: a child taken from its parents, for instance.
  • After that, Rosemary changed. She was no longer happy, and he no longer got to hear the sound of her laughter. One day, the old man says, she stood up at the end of their session, kissed him on the cheek, and left. She applied for release and he never saw her again.
  • Jonas remembers what The Giver said about the memories that were released after Rosemary left. He realizes that he himself has an entire year's worth of memories, and asks what would happen if he were to, say, drown in the river. Or something.
  • The Giver advises that he try not to do that.
  • Then the old man thinks for a moment. He supposes that, if Jonas were to float off down the river, he could probably help the community with the pain of the memories the same way he helps Jonas deal with it now. But he has to think about that for a while, he concludes. In the meantime, Jonas should work on not drowning in a freak accident.

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