The Chosen by: Chaim Potok

The Chosen by: Chaim Potok

Novel Note Outline
A. Title: The Chosen
Author: Chaim Potok

Chaim Potok was born Herman Harold Potok in 1929 in New York City, the Bronx. He received an Orthodox Jewish upbringing and attended Jewish schools, graduating with a B.A. summa cum laude in English literature. At the age of twenty-five he was ordained a Conservative rabbi and went on to serve more than two years as a chaplain in the US Army. This service inspired his novels The Book of Lights and I am the Clay. He later received his Ph.D in philosophy from the University of Pennsylvania and began publishing novels, all of which contain some autobiographical content, until his death in 2002 at the age of seventy-three.

B. Setting
Time: June 1944, when the boys are attending high school at the age of fifteen, until the fall after their college graduation.
Place: Williamsburg area in Brooklyn, New York City.

C. Themes:
Complications can arise for those living a religious life in a secular society.
Silence can convey more than words through either actions or reflection.

D. Plot
The Chosen, by Chaim Potok, is a book about friendship that develops between two boys from vastly different religious, Jewish backgrounds. Danny is the son of a great tzaddik, has a photographic memory and an interest in psychoanalysis. Reuven wants to become a rabbi and is the son of David Malter, a teacher, writer and highly vocal activist for Zionism. Their hatred for each other, brought about during a softball game between their yeshivas, transforms into a deep friendship soon after.
During that softball game Reuven was pitching to Danny who returned the ball smashing into Reuven’s glasses. Reuven needed to be taken to the hospital in order to retrieve the glass from his eye. While he was in recovery from the surgery Danny visited him apologizing for the incident. Following a second apology, they became inseparable friends. They were inseparable only...

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