by Chaim Potok
Symbolism, Imagery, Allegory
Baseball fades out of the picture fairly quickly in The Chosen. Yet, its appearance provides us with an interesting window and we can see how it relates to vision. If Reuven had never gone on the baseball field, he wouldn’t have had any problems with his glasses. First, he actually has to mutilate himself to play baseball. He hooks the earpieces into his skin to get his glasses to stay on! It’s gross, but it accentuates his commitment to vision.
Baseball is also intimately connected to the theme visions of America. The two yeshiva teams are playing baseball because, in 1944, playing baseball is proof of good-Americanism and a show of support for American troops. Danny takes the war-baseball connection to exaggerated levels, in some kind of crazy parody of his father. Once he explains this to Reuven, it all makes sense and is kind of funny. When the war ends, baseball is still a symbol of American patriotism, but, for Danny and Reuven, such games fade away. The disappearance of baseball from Danny and Reuven’s lives is a sign of their changing vision.