Jonas lives in a place called the community. In the community people live under strict rules. Planes are not allowed to fly over the community. One day an airplane flew over the community, everyone was stunned, later that day the pilot of the plane was released, killed or eliminated, as a punishment. In december Jonas is being assigned a career at the age of twelve, which they call the ceremony of twelve. Their are 50 children born each year. Each age group has their own ceremony. At the ceremony of one each child is assigned to a family. Gabriel got assigned to Jonas’ family. When each child turn five they are called fives. At the ceremony of nine they get their own bicycle. Every night Jonas’s family do “the telling of feeling”. Where each member of the family has to tell the truth about what they experienced during the day. Jonas reveals that he is feeling nervous about his upcoming ceremony and his family assures him that the Committee of Elders will choose a good career for him.
Older siblings give bike riding lessons to younger siblings even though it’s against to rules. The rules are decided by the Elders. Elders watched the young people to figure out what job they should have. Jonas’s Mother explains that the Ceremony of Twelve is the last ceremony; after that, no one keeps track of how old he/she is anymore. They stop seeing their friends, and life basically becomes about their work after that. Jonas still has no idea what he might be assigned as a profession.
Jonas’s Father brings home baby Gabriel. While Lily plays over the baby, Jonas sits at his desk and does homework. He thinks about the loudspeakers and how they violate your privacy. In a community where there is no color at all for any object, Jonas begins to see a little bit of a color when he and Asher, his friend, plays catch with an apple.
Nothing much happens in this chapter except. Jonas, Asher and their friend Fiona are doing community service at the house of the old. They all bathe this old woman named Larissa, who tells them about a person who was released earlier that day. The person who was released name was Roberto. Larissa, Jonas and his friends wonder why children aren’t allowed to witness them.
Jonas and his family have another tradition in the morning where they tell each other their dreams from the night before. Jonas reveals that he dreamt about Fiona and himself in the tub in the house of the old having a want and a feeling that he shouldn’t have. Jonas’s Mother tells him that these feelings are called ‘Stirrings,’ that he has to report them every time they happen, and that she has a pill that will make them all go away.
It’s the day of the ceremony. The ceremony is divided into two days. Everyone in the family is well dressed and ready to go. During this ceremony every age group gets something new. Jonas’s Mother takes a seat in the audience, but his Father, because he’s a Nurturer, is going to take part in the naming of the Ones. Gabriel isn’t with the group of the ones because he was an unhealthy baby. Unhealthy babies are usually released, but the night before Jonas’s father begged for another year with Gabriel on the condition that Jonas’s family take care of him until he is well. On the second day. The bicycles are presented to the Nines, the Tens get their hair cut, and the Elevens get new clothes. Jonas and his friends gossip about a myth that if you don’t get the career that you desire you can transfer to “Elsewhere” and leave.
Jonas and his friends line up in the order of the numbers they were given at birth. The Chief Elder, an aged woman, gives a little speech to the group of young people. She also gives the children their occupation. Asher is named Assistant Director of Recreation, which he is generally happy about. Fiona is assigned Caretaker of the Old, which she is happy about. Jonas is right after Fiona. The Chief Elder then skips Jonas and proceed to naming the following occupations. Jonas is now confused, curious, and scared.
The Chief Elder apologize to the crowd for skipping Jonas and the all accept her apology. She then says that”Jonas has not been assigned; rather, he has been selected. Selected to be…The Receiver of Memory.” The receiver of memory basically stores all the community’s history is his head. This is a big deals because in this community there are no books or at least the Receiver of Memory has all of the books. Only the Receiver of Memory can see color and only he can feel different emotions that others can’t. The Receiver of Memory also is the only person that is aloud to lie. He is not aloud to tell anyone about his training.
Jonas is told by the Chief Elder that there was a former Receiver of Memory who failed ten years ago. Jonas then comes home and asks his parents about her. His parents then say that it is forbidden to say her name. After the ceremony, all the new Twelves had been given folders of materials in the way of training for their new jobs. In bed that night, Jonas opens his to find just one sheet of paper. It’s a list of instructions telling him to go to the Annex entrance behind the House of the Old as soon as he’s finished with school.
Jonas rides with Fiona to the House of the Old. She goes in the normal entrance for her training, and he heads to the Annex for his. Jonas goes through the door into what appears to be The Receiver’s living area. Jonas sees books for the first time. Jonas realizes that, the old Receiver is sitting in the corner. Jonas greets him and the old man declares that Jonas is the new Receiver. He then tells Jonas to feel free to ask as many questions as he wants. He explains that his job is to transmit to Jonas all the memories of the past. It’s like going downhill on a sled, he explains. At first it’s quick and easy, until the snow builds up on the runners and then you have to push and push to keep going. Then he stops, realizing that such a simile does not affect Jonas, who doesn’t know what ‘snow’ or a ‘sled’ or ‘runners’ are. Or ‘downhill,’ The old man then orders Jonas to take off his tunic and lie face down on the bed. The old man puts his hands on Jonas’s back, explaining that he’s going to transmit the memory of snow.
Jonas receives the memory of snow. All of a sudden, he knows that he is surrounded by snow and that he’s sitting on a sled. He then races downhill, fast at first, until the snow piles up and the runners come to a standstill. Then he opens his eyes and is back in the room with the old man. Every memory that The Giver gives to Jonas he no longer has. The reason they don’t have snow anymore is because of climate control. Weather that wasn’t conducive to growing crops was essentially eliminated when they ‘went to Sameness.’, which is also why the community has no hills. The old man begins to transmit one more memory. Jonas feels warmth coming from the sky and decides that this mysterious thing is called ‘sunshine.’ This, too was done away with when they went to Sameness.
Jonas’ friends are chatting among themselves about their new assignment while Jonas has to lie to everyone and has to keep his job a secret.
Jonas sees color again in Fiona’s hair and reports to The Giver to ask him questions. The Giver shows him the memory of color. Now Jonas can see the color red, which he didn’t know existed. Jonas wants to know why anyone would ever get rid of something so wonderful. The Giver explains that it was a choice, and that for losing things like color, they gained control.
Jonas learns all the colors. Jonas argues that without color, there aren’t choices. He can’t decide in the morning whether he wants to wear blue or red. The Giver explains that, if that were the case, then Gabriel might make the wrong choices. Jonas quickly agrees and then states that it’s safer and protects the people. The Giver shares a sad memory of elephants being killed for their tusks. Jonas tries to tell his sister that her comfort object, an elephant, used to really exist. She thinks he’s just messing around. The Giver tells Jonas that his teachers no nothing about the world. Jonas tells the Giver he’s ready for painful bad memories.
The Giver gives Jonas one painful memory. The Giver sends Jonas back to his spot on the hill with the sled, the sled tips over and Jonas breaks his leg. Many feelings of pain follow, along with some vomit and blood. Jonas limps home, still feeling the physical pain of the memory. Jonas puts Gabriel to sleep. In the middle of the night, Gabriel’s fussing wakes Jonas. He pats the baby and, while doing so, starts thinking about the pleasant memory. Accidentally, he begins transmitting the memory to Gabe, who is comforted and stops fussing. Jones can feel the memory disappearing from his mind, so he pulls it back. The next time Gabriel wakes, he gives the baby more of the memory, knowing he can take another one from The Giver.
The next day when Jonas shows up at The Giver’s room, The Giver is in pain. Jonas is about to leave, but The Giver begs him to take some of the pain, which he does.This time, Jonas receives the memory of a bloody battlefield. He himself is lying on the ground and seems to be missing some of his arm, and he’s forced to watch a soldier next to him slowly die.When he can’t take anymore, Jonas opens his eyes and returns to the room with The Giver. The Giver apologizes for having transmitted such an awful memory, and he looks away from Jonas.
After that experience Jonas is hesitating on going to the Annex. This time he goes, and the Giver asks for forgiveness by giving Jonas some joyful memories like Christmas mornings and birthday parties which he enjoys. When Jonas reaches home he shares all of his thoughts with Gabriel, about colors and memories and grandparents and love, telling him that things could be different than they are. The next morning as his first act of rebellion, Jonas throws out his stirring pills which are used to control hormones.
After four weeks of not taking the pills, Jonas gets some pretty sexual dreams. He realizes that he’s feeling emotions more deeply than before. Jonas is beginning to realize that he knows more than the rest of the community. Jonas wants to make a change but soon realizes that he’s powerless to change anything. Jonas’ father is in a conundrum. The very much anticipated twin males will be born, and he will have to decide which one is sent Elsewhere.
The next day in the Annex, Jonas bring up the whole “release” concept to The Giver. They then sidetrack and talk about the former Receiver of Memory. The Giver tells Jonas that her name was Rosemary. 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. The Giver then messed up, because during her training, for the first five weeks he gave her only good memories like the Christmas one and the birthday one. But then he realized that he had to start giving her bad memories like a child taken from its parents. After that day she became depressed and applied for a release. Rosemary is also the reason why the Receiver of Memory is no longer allowed to apply for a release.
Jonas’ father has to send one of the newborn twins to Elsewhere. Since Jonas couldn’t see it in person, the Giver asked for a recording. The Giver and Jonas watch the tape. Jonas’s father gives the heavier baby to a nurse to take back to the Nursery. Then Jonas watches as his father gives the a deadly injection to a vein in the forehead. Then, he drops the dead baby in the disposal. After Jonas sees this, he will never forgive his father. The Giver says he watched the tape of Rosemary’s release, except he turned away after she asked to inject herself. Jonas asks, what will happen to the memories if he disappears. The giver replied saying basically everyone in the community will have to live with the memories. This question sparked an idea in the Giver’s head.
Jonas doesn’t want to go home. As a result the Giver invites him to stay the night. Jonas is outraged that his father lied to him all these years. Jonas asks if Release is death for everyone, even the elderly. The Giver confirms that yes, it is. The Giver says the two of them need to make a plan. Spending time with Jonas has made The Giver realize that things have to change. Then, the night before the big Ceremony, Jonas will sneak out of his house and hide his bicycle and clothes by the river. Then he’ll come to the Annex, where The Giver will be waiting for him. His parents will wake up and find a note about Jonas having gone for an early bike ride. They’ll wait and, finally, they’ll just leave for the Ceremony without him. No one will notice his absence all day because they’ll be so wrapped up in the festivities. Meanwhile, The Giver, would order a vehicle, send the driver away under some wild goose chase, and hide Jonas inside the truck.
By the time everyone has found Jonas’s bicycle and clothes by the river, he will be long gone. The Giver explains that he will stay to help the citizens. Then he reveals that his daughter is Rosemary. And he wants to die and be with her one day.
Jonas finds out that in the morning his father will release Gabriel, because he is making too much noise and he can’t put him to sleep. Jonas then decides to escape along with Gabriel. Jonas gives Gabriel the memory of a rocking hammock so that he can stay asleep during the ride. Jonas is on his bike pedalling for days while taking breaks in between. He is worried that when the low-flying search planes come by,they might find him, especially because he knows they have heat-seeking devices. After a while the planes stop flying by and the memories are fading.
While biking Jonas gets in an accident and sprains his ankle.Since the landscape changed and he is not far out from the community, Jonas can see wildlife for the first time. Jonas gets hungry and catches some fish for Gabriel and himself. Jonas begins to feel as if he betrayed the community that kept him alive all those years. Jonas is now faced with the challenge of riding a bike uphill with a sprained ankle. Jonas begins to feel like giving up.
The journey is mental putting a toll on him. Jonas begins to walk uphill with Gabriel in his jacket. They are both freezing and very tired. As they get closer to the top, I believe Jonas starts to hallucinate about his past. Jonas then finds a sled and reminisces about the first memory that the Giver gave to him. Jonas sets up the slay and he knows that Elsewhere is waiting for him at the bottom, because he hears music, and sees light and color. The book then ends with “Jonas thinks for a moment that he hears music coming from behind him, too, back from where he came. ‘But perhaps it was only an echo.’”