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Free Study Guide for The Giver by Lois Lowry

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CHAPTER SUMMARY AND NOTES


CHAPTER EIGHTEEN


Summary


The next afternoon when they meet, Jonas asks the Giver about release. Neither of them is allowed to request release. The memories are too important to the community. They discuss the prior Receiver-to-be, the one who was lost ten years ago. There was no rule at that time forbidding the Receiver-to-be to request release. After she had received more painful memories than she could bear, she had requested release and, because it was not forbidden to her, the community had to release her.

The Giver tells Jonas what happened after she was released. The memories went to the community and the people all suffered with the memories. The Giver was too grief-stricken to help them. He cautions Jonas to take care that nothing accidentally happens to him because he has even more memories now than the earlier Receiver-to-be had at the time of her release. It would be much harder on the people now, if something happened to him and his memories were released. The Giver adds that perhaps he could help the people instead of concentrating on his own grief.


Notes


It is likely that when the people were flooded with the unwelcome, painful memories that came from the previous Receiver-to-be, their demand that memories be held only by the Receiver of Memory was reinforced. It would be very difficult for someone to try to change the setup with the unwelcome flood of memories still recent.


The Giver is very wise. He seems to be growing wiser, too. When the prior Receiver-to-be was lost, he did not help the community because he himself was too grief-stricken. But, now he knows that a better way would be helping other even though he is grief-stricken.


CHAPTER NINETEEN


Summary


Jonas and the Giver continue their conversation. Jonas tells the Giver that his father released a twin this morning. When the Giver says that he wishes they would not do that, Jonas laughs at the idea of having two identical people to confuse the community.

Jonas wishes aloud that he could have watched the release. Watching releases is forbidden to children. The Giver reminds Jonas of the special rules for his position. For him watching a release is allowed. And, since it was recorded, they can watch a recording of it. The Giver calls in a request and soon it is available on the video screen.

As the video begins, Father walks into a room followed by a woman. Each is holding a baby boy. Father weighs each one. He gives the larger one to the woman who takes him to the Nurturing Center. He opens a cupboard and takes out a syringe and a little bottle. He fills the syringe from the bottle. He inserts the needle into a vein in the newchild’s scalp. The newchild wiggles and cries softly. He moved his arms and legs and then he stops moving. Jonas is slow to realize what has happened. But, then he does. He tells himself that his father killed the newchild. He is shocked. His father puts the body into a carton and sends it down a chute. Then he says “Bye bye.” Then, the video ends.

The Giver tells Jonas about the release of the prior Receiver-to-be, Rosemary. The Giver has seen a tape of it also. In the tape, Rosemary was in a room waiting to be released. When a syringe was brought in, she requested to be allowed to inject herself. The Giver tells Jonas that he did not watch as she injected herself. Rosemary was brave and he was horror-struck.

Afterward, the Giver and Jonas are both very upset.


Notes


Jonas’s search for answers takes a giant leap forward today. And, the new information received is definitely not pleasant. He was suffering before this, but now it is worse.

One unbelievable piece of information that he receives through the video is that his father lied to him. The fear that was already in the back of his mind that others could be lying to him is actually accurate. This is a difficult piece of information for him to accept.

In his own way, Father was still the gentle Nurthurer with the released twin. He would have preferred that there was another way to handle the situation, but to Father there did not seem to be another way.

Finding out that the community has been less than honest about release can cause Jonas to be alert to other misnomers.


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