At the Ceremony of Twelve, Jonas is given the highly honored Assignment of Receiver of Memory. The Receiver is the sole keeper of the community’s collective memory. When the community went over to Sameness—its painless, warless, and mostly emotionless state of tranquility and harmony—it abandoned all memories of pain, war, and emotion, but the memories cannot disappear totally. Someone must keep them so that the community can avoid making the mistakes of the past, even though no one but the Receiver can bear the pain. Jonas receives the memories of the past, good and bad, from the current Receiver, a wise old man who tells Jonas to call him the Giver.