The Giver

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The Giver Chapter 18 Summary & Analysis

Summary
Analysis
The next day, Jonas asks The Giver about release. The Giver responds that on days when his memories particularly pain him, he thinks of his own release. But then he reminds Jonas of the rule prohibiting Jonas or himself from asking for release. He tells Jonas that the rule was created ten years earlier, when the previous trainee failed.
Jonas's continuing questions about release suggest that he is not satisfied with the community's explanations of what release is, so he is investigating the truth for himself.
Themes
The Individual vs. Society Theme Icon
Freedom and Choice Theme Icon
Coming of Age Theme Icon
The Giver tells Jonas that her name was Rosemary, and that he loved her very much, the same way he loves Jonas. She loved the happy memories The Giver gave her, but after receiving memories of loneliness, loss, and fear, she was so distraught that she applied for release without telling The Giver. Afterward, her memories were released to the community and The Giver was too grief-stricken to help the people cope with the lost memories.
The Giver and Jonas can now speak openly about the love they share, a love grounded in the shared experience of joy and pain. To be able to talk about love in this way is an important point in Jonas's personal growth.
Themes
Feeling and Emotion Theme Icon
Coming of Age Theme Icon
Jonas wonders what would happen if he fell in the river and died accidentally. The Giver tells him that memories are forever, and that all of Jonas's memories would be given to the community. He says that Jonas has many more memories than Rosemary had and if they were given to the community it would be catastrophic. He adds that he now thinks he might be more ready to help the community cope with such an overwhelming tragedy. Even so, he tells Jonas to stay away from the river.
The Giver's grief at Rosemary's release hints that release is not just a ceremony in which a member of the community gets to leave for Elsewhere. Though The Giver thinks he might now be able to help the community cope with memories, his demand that Jonas avoid the river shows he has no intention of trying to change the community.
Themes
The Individual vs. Society Theme Icon
Freedom and Choice Theme Icon
Feeling and Emotion Theme Icon
Coming of Age Theme Icon
Memory Theme Icon