The Giver Chapters 17 - 20 Summary

In chapter seventeen, for some reason they were given an unscheduled holiday, which meant that Jonas did not have to attend school. He grabbed his bicycle and headed off to find his friends. He noticed that he was able to hold on to colors consistently so that when he looked around he saw the beauty of the landscape. He found his friends playing a game where they were pretending to shoot and attack one another. He had always enjoyed this game, but since he had seen memories of actual war, he found that the game bothered him. He walked into the center of the action and tried not to cry. All of the children left, except for Asher and Fiona, who tried to figure out what was wrong with him. Jonas asked them not to play that game again, but they didn't understand why, and they left too. Jonas went home and was cheered up by Gabriel beginning to walk and say his own name.

In chapter eighteen Jonas asks about the previous girl chosen to be a Receiver. The Giver says her name was Rosemary. He began by giving her pleasant memories, but once she experienced pain, everything changed. One day she kissed the Giver goodbye and asked for a release, which they requested. When she was released, her memories were also released back into the community. The society didn't know how to deal with all those feelings, and the Giver was too distraught to help them. Jonas's rules say he is not allowed to request a release, but if something were to happen to him, the Giver thinks he would somehow have to help the community work through all those painful memories.

Chapter nineteen begins with a discussion of release. Jonas wishes he could watch the ceremony for the twins that happened that morning. The Giver says they can through a video recording taken of it. Jonas watches the screen as he sees his father weigh the children and then has the nurse take the heavier one away. His father then take a syringe and injects something into the other baby's forehead until it goes limp and dies. His father puts the baby in a carton and drops it down a chute. The Giver says he witnessed true bravery when he saw Rosemary inject herself with the syringe. The Giver had to turn away from the screen because he couldn't stand to watch her die. Jonas is stunned to realize that release means death.

For chapter twenty, Jonas does not want to return home after his revelation about release, so the Giver says he can spend the night. He tells Jonas he has never lied to him, and they are the only ones in the community to experience true feelings. They come up with a plan to change society. Jonas will leave and never be able to return. He will sneak out the night before the ceremony and hide in the storage area of a vehicle that the Giver requests. Then the Giver will announce to the crowd that Jonas has drowned in the river and help them through their grief along with dealing with the memories released from Jonas leaving the community. The Giver admits that he can no longer see colors because he has given them all to Jonas, but he had the capacity to hear beyond, which refers to music. He offers to give Jonas one of these memories, but Jonas wants the Giver to keep them for himself. Then the Giver confesses that he had a daughter, which Jonas was surprised he never mentioned. The Giver tells Jonas that his daughter's name was Rosemary.

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