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The Chosen Quote Ananlysis Essay, Research Paper

The Chosen

Reading Journal

Chapter One

1. ?Remember why and for whom we play.? (p. 16)

This passage shows the rabbi of Reuven?s rival team telling his players to focus

and concentrate on the importance of the baseball game they are about to play.

They are playing for the glory of their God and not to just have fun. To these

young teenage boys their religion has importance in all aspects of their life

even their after school recreational activities.

2. The first pitch was low, and Danny Saunders ignored it. The second one

started to come in shoulder-high, and before it was two thirds of the way to the

plate, I was standing on second base. (p. 30)

This seemingly irrelevant scene in the book is actually very important because it

shows how Reuven controls his own destiny. Anticipating what is going to

happen based on previous experience is crucial, not just in baseball but also in

life. Reuven was the only one on his team that reacted like this and it shows

his leadership abilities in key situations.

Chapter Two

3. ?Enjoy your meal,? she said smiling.

?Thank you very much,? I said. I had been concerned about eating. (p. 44)

As soon as Reuven regained consciousness in the hospital his main concern was

remaining kosher according to his religion. His natural instinct of hunger was

put after the desire to obey his Jewish beliefs. This shows what a key factor

Reuven?s religion is to him in all aspects of life.

4.?It?s not all right,? I said ?I want you to tell me.?

?There is nothing to tell you. They told me it was all right.?

?Abba, please tell me what?s the matter.? (p. 48)

This passage explains the close connection between Reuven and his father. The

boy can tell when his father is not being completely honest with him and

Reuven longs to know what is going to happen to his eye. In his time of pain

and concern Reuven knows that he can confide in his ?Abba? for help and


Chapter Three

5. Also, yesterday I had hated him; now we were calling each other by our first

names. (p. 68)

Reuven explains in this passage the change in emotions he felt towards Danny. The previous day Reuven deeply hated Danny but now they began to spend time together and grow as friends. It is also ironic that these two boys would probably never get to know each other if it was not for Reuven?s injury.

6. ?What would have happened if you had lost??

?I don?t like to think about that. You don?t know my father.?

?So you practically had to beat us.? (p. 71)

Here Danny tells Reuven that to the Hasidic softball team it was more than a

game; it was an expression of Hasidic dominance. Danny?s father, the Hasidic

rabbi in the area formed the team for the sole purpose of glorifying his religion

and failure was not an option for Danny and his team.

Chapter Four

7. ?I read a lot,? he said. ?I read about seven or eight books a week outside of my

school work.? (p. 79)

Danny is telling Reuven about himself and his studying habits. Danny is an

extremely intelligent person who reads on his own for the sole purpose of

possessing that extra knowledge. This impresses Reuven who is also on a quest

for knowledge and he only reads three or four books a week.

8. I suddenly realized it was my father who all along had been suggesting books

for Danny to read. My father was the man Danny had been meeting in the


Reuven is surprised to find out that his ?enemy? was actually a friend of his

father for almost two months before the two boys met on the baseball field. In

this complicated friendship the two boys are just getting to know each other

while the father has been guiding each of them individually for quite some

time. Only through a baseball injury are these people all brought together.

Chapter Five

9. I had lived init all my life, but I never really saw it until I went through it that

Friday afternoon. (p.94)

Reuven now values the things he once took for granted; even an insignificant

plant outside his house is exciting to him. It is not until something is taken away

from Reuven that he notices the importance of it.

10. I felt I had crossed into another world, that pieces of my old self had been left

behind on the black asphalt floor of the school yard alongside the shattered lens

of my glasses. (p. 96)

Along with the physical change of the temporary loss of eyesight Reuven has also

gone through a mental transformation while in the hospital. His old passive

lifestyle changed once he realized that at any moment it could all be over. Being

injured was a tremendous growing experience and without being in this accident

Reuven would not have matured as much as he did.

Chapter Six

11. There was color now in my father?s face and his cough had disappeared. (p. 97)

Reuven?s injury was a traumatic experience for both father and son. Mr. Malter

was pale and sick during Reuven?s struggle in the hospital and this shows how

much he cared for his son. With Mrs. Malter gone Reuven is the only true friend

he has and both father and son need each other.

12 Reb Saunders? son is a terribly torn and lonely boy. There is literally no one in

the World he can talk to. He needs a friend. The accident with the baseball has

bound Him to you.? (p. 106)

Mr. Malter makes it clear to Reuven just how important it is to be friends with

Danny Saunders. Although very gifted and educated Danny struggles daily with

the loneliness of having no one to confide in. what seemed like a terrible event at

the baseball field was a blessing in disguise that will bring these two boys who

need each other, together.

Chapter Seven

13. Danny was probably going to have as much trouble with his friends over our

relationship as I would have with mine. (p. 118)

Reuven and Danny are from two different social groups with dissimilar

qualities that make it difficult for the two boys to be friends. It is a classic

problem in literature; for example: Romeo and Juliet. The main difference in

Danny and Reuven?s friendship from Romeo and Juliet?s relationship is that the

two boys do not try to hide their friendship.

14. He glanced at me, his face a mixture of surprise and relief, and I realized

that I, too, had passed some kind of test.? (p. 134)

Reuven has just been quizzed by Reb Saunders and he answered the question

correctly. This is a big step in Reuven and Danny?s friendship because it shows

Mr. Saunders that Reuven is an acceptable friend. Both parents now approve of

the friendship between their sons even though the fathers do not always agree and

this also shows the maturity and understanding of the men.

Chapter Eight

15. I decided after a while to review by heart some of the symbolic logic I had been

studying. (p.144)

This passage shows how the two friends, Danny and Reuven, push each other to

further their knowledge. When Reuven sees Danny reading a book it makes him

want to do something for himself that will make him smarter. It is an undeclared

competition between the boys to see who is more dedicated to their education.

16. Reb Saunders was far happier when he lost to Danny than when he won.

(p. 155/156)

In the religious quizzing that took place between Reb Saunders and his son the

father took pride in seeing his son succeed even if it meant that Mr. Saunders was

proved wrong lost. Mr. Saunders taught Danny most of what he knows and

seeing this knowledge Transfer from generation to generation makes Reb happy.

He knows that through these friendly games between father and son Danny will

learn what his father knows and eventually take his place.

Chapter Nine

17. My father?s eyes were misty when we left the office. (p. 162)

Reuven was just told that his eye was fine and that he could do all the things

he used to do including reading. This was extremely relieving to his father; Mr.

Malter continually worried about Reuven while he was in the hospital and even

when he got out because of his eye. Everything was physically back to normal

with Reuven and this brought his father to tears.

18. I bent and blew hard against the web. It swayed, but remained intact. I

Blew again, harder now, and the strands seemed to suddenly melt. (p. 165)

Reuven was sitting on his porch moments after hearing the bad news of Billy?s

unsuccessful surgery and he felt helpless, just like the horsefly stuck in the

spider?s web. Reuven wanted to do something good so he destroyed the web

that the fly was stuck in and this allowed it to escape. What Reuven did not

realize was the fact that by releasing the fly and tearing down the web he might

have killed the spider that needed the fly to survive. It is ironic that Reuven?s

attempt at a good deed might have been hurtful.

Chapter Ten

19. I joined him there every afternoon, and frequently my father came with me.

(p. 166)

Danny and Reuven?s friendship has grown and they both rely on each other for

help and companionship. Now that it is summer they meet every day in the

library to do their reading together. Reuven?s father also acts as a mentor to

Danny who has no father figure who he can turn to for help with his studying.

20. Miserable, he said. Had I ever sat in a bus with my father for hours and not

exchanged a single word of conversation, except for a short discussion about

a passage of Talmud? No.

Danny has no one he can talk to for advice and his father is more of a school

teacher than a loving mentor that the fifteen year old boy needs. Mr.

Saunders? method of teaching Danny what he needs to know later in life

is making him a smart person but Danny does not want to inherit his father?s

Hasidic leadership because he does not want to be like his father. With no one

to learn from Danny turns to books by Freud and this may influence his way

of thinking and further upset his father.

Chapter Eleven

21.I saw only emptiness and fear and a kind of sudden, total end to the things that

I had never experienced before. (p. 179)

Theodore Roosevelt, president of the United States, has just died and it has filled

Reuven with immense grief. He does not fully understand why he is sad but only knows that a great man has died. Along with Judaism Reuven?s home country is very important to him and Roosevelt?s death is very upsetting to Reuven. The president was probably a role model to Reuven especially now that he is becoming interested in politics and other leadership roles.

22.?How the world drinks our blood,? Reb Saunders said. ?How the world makes

makes us suffer. It is the will of God. We must accept the will of God.? (p. 181)

Reb Saunders is personally hurt by the horrible massacre of six million Jews in the Nazi?s concentration camps. These people were Reb?s followers, and some even his friends. The genocide of this many people has affected the entire world and the remaining Jews including Reuven and Danny?s father are very disturbed by these events.

Chapter Twelve

23.?I was really concerned about his health because all along I?ve wanted him to be able to take my father?s place.? (p.190)

Through reading Freud Danny has figured out that he does not want to take his father?s place as a tzaddik. Danny feels that deep in his subconscious he wants his little brother to take his place and that is why he has always been concerned with his health; not because he cares for him, but for selfish reasons. Danny has found his way out of being a rabbi and this gives him hope for his future.

24.?I?ll want you around on that day, friend. I?ll need you around on that day.?

(p. 191)

Danny knows that he does not want to take his father?s place and become a rabbi but the hardest part will be telling his father this. Danny seeks comfort in Reuven and asks for his help in confronting his father; both boys are greatly intimidated by the powerful Reb Saunders. During a time when both boys fathers are not there to help them they confide in each other for strength.

Chapter Thirteen

25.? I learned a long time ago, Reuven, that a blink of an eye in itself is nothing. But the eye that blinks, that is something. A span of life is nothing. But the man that lives that span, he is something.? (p. 204)

Mr. Malter is teaching Reuven an important lesson about controlling his own destiny. Not only should Reuven not stand idle and do something with the gift of life that was given to him but he should also try to impress this idea on others. This is the key factor in Mr. Malter?s way of thinking and the main reason why he puts himself through the torture of teaching and helping others before he even takes care of himself.

26.Danny was not to see me, talk to me, listen to me, be found within four feet of

me. My father and I had been excommunicated from the Saunder?s family.

(p. 217)

Reuven and Danny?s friendship seems to have come to an end. Reb Saunders will not allow his son to be with Reuven because of their Zionists views. Mr. Saunder?s thinks that Reuven will influence Danny in a negative way and as punishment for remaining friends Danny has been threatened with being sent to an out of town yeshiva where he will only be able to study to be a rabbi. What the two boys struggled through, not caring what others thought of them, seems impossible now with Mr. Saunder?s unyielding views toward the Zionist beliefs of the Malter family.

Chapter Fourteen

27.And now it was also I and not only Reb Saunders who was able to listen to

Danny?s voice only through a Talmudic disputation. (p. 225)

Now that Reuven is not allowed to talk with Danny it is only during the

Talmudic sessions in class that Reuven gets to hear his voice. Reuven

points out that this is the same relationship between Mr. Saunders and his

son and that they only talk to each other while discussing Talmud. A sad

fact because now Danny has no one to talk to and he goes through his days

in silence.

28.I worked carefully and methodically, using everything my father taught me

And a lot of things I was now able to teach myself. (p. 229)

Danny?s father has done an exceptional job in raising his son and this is most

evident when the father cannot be there. The main job of a parent is to work

themselves out of a job and now that Mr. Malter has had a heart attack Reuven

must take care and teach himself and he does a wonderful job of it, impressing

his teacher and classmates. Reuven really misses his father but it is a testament

to the hard work of Mr. Malter that his son can now succeed on his own.

Chapter Fifteen

29.He had worked so hard for a Jewish state, and that very work now kept him from

seeing it. (p. 240)

Ever since news came of the slaughter of six million Jews during WWII it has been Mr. Malter?s personal mission to make it possible for his people to have a country of their own, a Jewish state. He rarely slept and this greatly worsened his health and probably was the reason for his second heart attack. Now with the struggle of recuperating from the heart attack he is not strong enough to make a trip to Palestine and see the place for which he worked so hard to make a reality.

30.Reb Saunders? anti-Zionist league died that day as far as the students in Hirsch

Collage were concerned. It remained alive outside of school, but I never again

saw an anti-Zionist leaflet inside the school building. (p. 241)

With the death of a graduate from Hirsch Collage as a result of the fighting in Palestine the students and faculty of that school now have a close connection with the fighting for a Jewish homeland. Anti-Zionists who once had a stronghold on some students are now nowhere to be seen in the school for fear of retaliation from people who knew the student well. It took the death of another Jew to give the Zionists and the anti-Zionists of the school a reason to stop the conflicts between people of the same religion.

Chapter Sixteen

31.I felt a little shiver hearing his voice?

?The ban has been lifted.? He said simply. (p. 243)

Mr. Saunders will now allow his son to see Reuven. The two friends

never wanted to be apart and it was a trying time for their friendship. This

was the first time the two had spoken to each other in months and the meeting

was filled with relief and joy.

32.He had expected it, he said. The Jewish state was not an issue anymore but a

fact. How long would Reb Saunders have continued his band over a dead issue? (p. 244)

Mr. Malter is talking to Reuven about the two boys now being allowed to be friends again. He is happy but not surprised because the differences in religious beliefs that first separated the families is a non-existent conflict anymore. Mr. Malter?s desire to have a Jewish state has now become a reality and there is nothing Reb Saunders can do about it so he maturely admits his ?defeat? and allows the two boys to be friends again.

Chapter Seventeen

33.Danny called me during supper as soon as the ambulance pulled away from in

front of his house, and I could tell from his voice that he was in panic. (p. 251)

Levi Saunders, Danny?s little brother, is very ill and must be rushed to the hospital. This is extremely important to Danny because he is counting on his brother to take over the role of heir to the tzaddik throne once Danny tells his father that he is not going to be a rabbi. To Danny this is much more important than even losing a family member and Reuven understands this when Danny calls.

34.?You will go on Passover. He has a reason if he asked you to come especially

on Passover. And listen next time when someone speaks to you, Reuven.?

(p. 258)

Mr. Malter is scolding Reuven for not paying attention to Mr. Saunders indirect invitation to talk about Danny. Reuven is still angry with Reb Saunders and he did not want to spend his Shabbat talking to him about Talmud but he failed to realize that Mr. Saunders wanted to talk to Reuven about his son. What Mr. Malter is actually telling Reuven is that when someone says something he should not always take it as literally as it sounds. He also wants Reuven to forget about the past with Mr. Saunders and give him another chance.

Chapter Eighteen

35.?My father himself never talked to me, except when we studied together. He

taught me with silence.? (p. 265)

Danny Saunders? grandfather also taught Reb Saunders with silence. This tradition was passed down from generation to generation but Danny rebels against it and decides that this type of future is not for him. In a very emotional discussion father and son discuss Danny?s future as a psychologist and not a tzaddik.

36.?But he learned to find the answers for himself. He suffered and learned to

listen to the suffering of others. In the silence between us he began to hear

the world crying.? (p. 267)

Reb Saunders finally tells Danny the reason why they do not talk to

each other; he wanted Danny to hear the suffering of the world through

the silence between father and son. This is the Saunders? family way of teaching a boy to grow up and become a tzaddik, silence. It is ironic how Reb Saunders stressed the importance of silence for Danny?s personal growth toward becoming a leader but it is partly because of the silence between him and his father that he does not want to become a tzaddik at all.

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