It is the day of Jonas's first meeting with the old Receiver. He goes to an Annex of The House of the Old. After he rings the buzzer, he is let into the building. The Attendant stands when she greets him. She respectfully calls him what he now is, Receiver of Memory. He is taken aback by how deferential she is. By pushing a button she unlocks a door. The Attendant notices that Jonas is uncomfortable. She explains that the locks are only to insure the Receiver's privacy. There is no danger.
On the other side of the door is the Receiver's living area. In most ways the Receiver's living area is much like that of Jonas's family, only more luxurious. The main difference, however, is the many books. Jonas's family, like every other family, only has three books in their home.
The old Receiver greets Jonas, calling him Receiver of Memory. Jonas looks around the room, and then apologizes to the Receiver. The Receiver does not respond like anyone else would have. Anyone else would have automatically, without thinking about it, accepted the apology. Confused, Jonas questions him about why he called Jonas by the title that belongs to him. The old Receiver tells Jonas that beginning today Jonas is the Receiver. The old Receiver tells Jonas that, like Jonas, he became the Receiver when he was Twelve. The relationship between himself and the prior Receiver was much like the relationship between the two of them.
The Receiver tells Jonas that what will happen is that he will transmit all his memories of the past to him. Jonas thinks that the Receiver will be telling him about his own childhood. The receiver corrects his impression. The memories that he will be passing to Jonas are memories of the whole world, back into the past. Jonas is confused. Jonas doesn't know that there are other people and other times. Jonas learns that the memories are important because they allow the Receivers to become wise and to help shape the future.
The first memory that the Receiver will give to Jonas is of going downhill fast on a sled through snow. Until now, Jonas has known nothing of hills or snow or sleds. In preparation for giving the memory, the Receiver turns off the speaker that is in the room. Every home also has a speaker, but those speakers cannot be turned off. It is not allowed. Jonas removes his tunic and lies on a tapestry-covered bed that is in the room. The old Receiver, who is now actually the Giver, tells Jonas to relax and places his hands on Jonas's bare back.
From Jonas's reaction to the locks on the doors, we surmise that the homes in the community are not generally locked. It would be nice to feel safe enough to not use a lock. But, how much does this sense of security cost the community?
The only books that Jonas has seen until now are the three books that are in every home. He has gone to school. The schools must teach without books.
The Receiver/Giver's furnishings are somewhat different than the furnishings in other homes. He has access to information about furniture styles to which the other inhabitants have no access.
We learn that in Jonas's community there are no hills and there is no snow. Not only is there none, but no one has ever heard of hills or snow. And, remember, there are no animals either. There is much that they are missing.