Some notes on Chaim Potok's The Chosen generated by Tom Sienkewicz for his Freshman
Seminar class at Monmouth College, Monmouth, Illnois. If you have comments or suggestions
about this material, you may contact Prof. Sienkewicz at email@example.com.
List of Characters:
Rav Gershenson. Talmud scholar at college
Some important historical figures of reference in the book include:
Solomon Maimon, pp. 113, 159. Great Jewish scholar and apokorisim of late eighteenth century
Israel, Ba'al Shem Tov, founder of Hasidism
Franklin D. Roosevelt
What is the significance of the Menniger quote at the front of the book?
1 The Softball Game
Things to note:
"fenced-off ghetto mentality", pg. 12
Mr. Galanter's military metaphors
baseball as mark of Americanism, pg. 14
righteousness vs. sinfulness, pg. 58
2 The Hospital
Things to note: blindness, pg. 58
At least the following languages are mentioned in this book: English, Yiddish, Hebrew, and Russian. Under what circumstances is each language spoken?
What is wrong with Tony Salvo and with Billy? How do their case histories compare with
Note lack of choice, inheritance pg. 74, 86
Discuss Danny's attitude toward Sigmund Freud.
Note silence, pg. 76, 169-170
Friendship, pg. 79
Danny learns identity of Reuben's father
5 The Apartment
How does his hospital stay affect the way that Reuven views his familiar surroundings?
6 History of eastern European Jews and the birth of Hasidism
Describe the relationship between Reuven and his father.
Reuben meets Rev Saunders
Reuben's test of worthiness. How does he pass?
How does Rev Saunders' sermon have special meaning for Danny?
8 In the Library and in Reb Saunders' study
two weeks after accident
Billy Merrit's blindness
Danny figures out how to read Freud
new school year, 1944-45
ending with death of Roosevelt and end of war
learning about the Holocaust
Mr. Malter's first heart attack
summer of 1945
Reuven lives with the Saunders
rise of Zionism and Reb Saunders' anger
first semester of college, 1945
Mr. Malter becomes a Zionist
his speech at rally
Daniel is forbidden contact with Reuven
spring semester of 1st year of college, 1946
fall semester of 2nd year
Rav Gershenson's Talmud class
Discuss pedagogic method. Public examination. Public embarrassment.
U.N. Partition Plan for the Middle East
Mr. Malter's second heart attack
Reuven's exegesis of the Talmud
Mr. Malter returns from hospital
birth of Israel
Arab-Israeli war, May, 1947
Danny's silence ends in September
Danny plans to earn doctorate in psychology
marriage of Danny's sister
last year of college, 1947-48
bar mitzvah of Danny's brother
Reuven avoids Rev Saunders until Passover
the silence breaks
story of Rev Saunders' brother