Plot Jonas lives in a community where everything is about efficiency and weak links and disobedient people are “released” to Elsewhere. At the age of 12, everyone gets a job and spends the next year training. When people are assigned jobs, Jonas is skipped over. He learns he gets a special job called “Receiver of Memories”.
One day, his father, a Caretaker, brings home a baby called Gabriel because he is not adapting as fast as the other kids, and so they are putting extra effort into teaching him.
After school, Jonas goes to the old Receiver of Memory’s office and trains. He gains memories of mysterious things like “snow” and “sunlight” and “love”. They existed before the community got rid of useless things.
At first, he only gains good memories, but he realizes that the bad memories are hurting the Old Receiver, or “Giver”, so he tells the Giver to give the memories to him.
The Giver talks about why the Receiver is important. When the Council of Elders are faced with a hard problem, they ask the Receiver to look through the memories for help on what to do.
There used to be another Receiver before Jonas named Rosemary. When she learned of the pain, she chose to be released. When she was released, all of the memories she had went to all of the community members and caused confusion and commotion.
His father says one day that Gabriel is to be released, because he cannot catch up to their normal adaption level. Jonas becomes sad when he cannot see him again.
One day, Jonas learns that being “released” means getting injected a poison and thrown away. He decides to save Gabriel by running away. He asks the Giver to run with him, but he says that he would need to stay and help others adapt to the knowledge and later, he would join his daughter, Rosemary.
At night, Jonas takes Gabriel and escapes on a bicycle. He feels the memories becoming weaker as they go back to the community, and he barely makes it away to Elsewhere.
Interdependence Everyone in the community works together and relies on each other. Each person has an important job that helps the community running.
Patience The Council of Elders gave jobs by calling names in numerical order, and Jonas was 19. The Council skipped and went from 18 to 20 and Jonas was worried and embarrassed, but he waited to find out what was going to happen instead of running out of the hall.
Respect Jonas has a very important job, and everyone is polite and respectful to him. Also, he treats everyone kindly and respects his parents, teachers, Council of Elders, and the Old.
Perseverance Gaining the bad memories of suffering were hard for Jonas, but he kept working to help the Giver and accept his role. When he was running away to Elsewhere, they were starving and cold, but Jonas used his memories to get them through.
Wisdom The Giver and Jonas uses their wisdom and memories and knowledge to help the community, and advise them on problems.
Love Jonas escapes because he loves Gabriel and doesn’t want him to die. He loves his community and thought that his memories were needed and everyone should know about the past.