Notes on The Giver Themes

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The Giver Topic Tracking: Memory

Chapter 5

Memory 1: After telling his parents about his dream, Jonas is told that he must treat the Stirrings by taking a pill every morning. The pill makes the feeling of wanting disappear. On his way to school, Jonas thinks that he had actually liked the feeling in his dream and tries to remember it. But he finds that he can no longer remember; his memory of the feeling has vanished.

Chapter 10

Memory 2: After explaining to Jonas that he has within him all the memories of the past, The Giver says that the memories are a burden he must carry. The burden is so heavy and oppressive that it wearies and ages him.

Chapter 11

Memory 3: Having given Jonas a memory of snow and sled, The Giver confesses that transmitting even that small memory has slightly eased his burden. Although he has others, he no longer has that specific memory; it has become something that Jonas must keep within himself.

Chapter 12

Memory 4: The first memory Jonas receives from The Giver comes back to him in dreams. He repeatedly dreams about sledding down the snowy hill.

Chapter 13

Memory 5: One day, Jonas is given a sad memory of an elephant being brutally slaughtered. It is his very first "disturbing" memory from which he learns about real "grief and rage."

Memory 6: Long ago, everyone had ready access to memories, but now, memories are kept only by the Receiver. Ten years ago, with the failure of the new Receiver, memories had been let loose, and people had been able to access them. There had been chaos because people could not handle the pain and the sorrow that some of the memories brought.

Memory 7: When Jonas tells The Giver what he has learned in school about how the brain works, The Giver comments bitterly that without memories, everything is "meaningless."

Chapter 14

Memory 8: For the first time, The Giver gives Jonas a memory of great physical pain. It is a memory in which he is sledding downhill uncontrollably until he is thrown into the air, eventually falling on the ground. It is a memory that gives Jonas an understanding of true physical pain, something the rest of the citizens in the community never feel. Whenever there are accidents, people are immediately given medication or shots to ease their pain. When Jonas asks for relief-of-pain after the memory, however, The Giver refuses to give it to him.

Memory 9: Jonas cannot understand why he must keep memories. The Giver explains to him that memories give wisdom which he needs in order to advise the rest of the Elders on issues. When the Committee was considering increasing the population in the community, The Giver had advised against it, thinking of the various memories he had of destruction that had followed starvation. When the unknown aircraft flew over the community, The Giver had told the Committee to wait before shooting it down, thinking of memories in which people had destroyed one another in fear and in haste. Like this, memories give wisdom by providing insights to the past.

Memory 10: When Gabriel fusses at night, Jonas unwittingly gives the baby a memory of breeze, lake, and a sailboat. The calm, peaceful memory helps Gabriel sleep more soundly at night.

Chapter 15

Memory 11: The Giver gives Jonas a memory of death and warfare. Jonas watches as a young boy slowly dies before his eyes. It is a memory that has been torturing The Giver. After giving it to Jonas, The Giver asks to be forgiven for having imparted such great anguish and pain to Jonas.

Chapter 16

Memory 12: Although he must give Jonas painful memories, The Giver also transmits many good memories to him that teach Jonas the value of human-animal bonds and the joys of solitude.

Memory 13: The Giver also gives Jonas his personal favorite memory. It is a memory of family, presents, food, and warmth. Jonas understands "love" through this memory.

Memory 14: Through memories, Jonas sees that there are other ways to live. He understands that although the way of living in the community is carefully planned and practical, there have been other ways of doing things in the past. In The Giver's favorite memory, Jonas sees that grandparents live with the rest of the family. In the community, the elderly live by themselves at the House of the Old.

Memory 15: As a result of the memories he has been receiving, Jonas comes to decide not to take the morning pills that make Stirrings disappear.

Chapter 17

Memory 16: The memories also enable Jonas to experience new feelings at greater depth. Having seen things like colors and oceans, Jonas realizes that the kind of feelings his family and other citizens in the community feel are not genuine-only shallow feelings.

Memory 17: Jonas is sad and lonely that he cannot share his love with his friends-Asher and Fiona. He has come to feel love for them through the memories, but his friends are unable to feel such things because they do not have access to the memories.

Chapter 18

Memory 18: Telling Jonas the story of Rosemary, the failed Receiver ten years ago, The Giver explains that memories are "forever." If Jonas were to be lost in the river, his memories would still live on. They would somehow find their way back to the people in the community just as Rosemary's had when she had been released.

Chapter 19

Memory 19: Watching the release of the smaller twin baby, Jonas recognizes that the baby has died just as the young boy had in the memory of warfare. The earlier memory helps him realize that his father has killed the infant.

Chapter 20

Memory 20: Through memories that show times when things were different and people felt real feelings, The Giver has come to realize that he and Jonas should try to change the community. The Giver understands that memories are best shared among people.

Memory 21: A memory that The Giver has been keeping to himself is that of music or the Capacity to Hear Beyond. Jonas had begun to see colors before receiving his Assignment. When he had been Jonas's age, The Giver had started to hear music.

Chapter 21

Memory 22: Jonas uses different memories he has received from The Giver to help him out on his difficult journey. Using memories of exhaustion, he helps Gabriel sleep. With memories of snow, he eludes the searchers who fly over them, using special devices to find them by detecting their body warmth. The farther he goes away from the community, however, Jonas can feel his memories becoming increasingly vague and faint. He knows that he is shedding them as they make their way back to the people of the community.

Chapter 23

Memory 23: Jonas tries to hold on to the memory of sunshine in order to warm himself and Gabriel from the cold, but the memory is faint at best. He is ready to give up, but memories of his family, friends, and The Giver sustain him.

Memory 24: Reaching the top of the hill, Jonas thinks to himself that he remembers the place. But the memory of the place is different from other memories he has struggled to hold onto. It is a "memory of his own" that he can keep.

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