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The Chosen

The Chosen


by Chaim Potok

Reuven Malter Timeline and Summary

  • Reuven meets Danny at his schoolyard for a baseball game, and he can’t stand the guy.
  • Danny seems to return the feeling and Reuven sees Danny’s hard ball coming right at him.
  • Bang! his glasses are smashed and his eye hurts.
  • He gets rushed to the hospital (after his team loses) and passes out after seeing some funny looking lights.
  • When he wakes up, he’s in the eye ward of the hospital.
  • He makes friends with some other people with eye problems, and waits for David. When David finally comes, Reuven learns that he had an operation on his eye because he had glass in it.
  • Danny comes and tries to make up to him, and he tells him to get out of his hospital room.
  • David is pretty angry about the whole thing and orders him to give Danny a chance, which he does, and he learns how amazingly Danny is.
  • He can’t believe Danny’s dad only talks to him about Talmud. He and his dad talk about everything, or everything Reuven wants to talk about anyway.
  • When Reuven gets out of the hospital, everything looks new and he’s so excited about life and his friendship with Danny.
  • But, he still can’t relate to Danny’s dad. Things are a little better when he hangs out with the Reb a bit more, and gets his approval for their friendship.
  • The Reb wants to talk to Danny through Reuven, and Reuven doesn’t like it.
  • But, things are OK until World War II ends and his dad learns about the Holocaust.
  • It literally gives David a heart attack, and Reuven has to move in with Danny.
  • But this is actually not a bad experience. The Reb is nice to him, and he and Danny spend a bunch of time together.
  • Soon, David recovers, which creates another problem for Reuven. David is so full of vim and vigor to be alive, and so sickened by the events of the war, that he throws his heart into promoting a Jewish homeland in Palestine. The Reb disagrees.
  • When David makes his views public, all of a sudden, Danny is no where to be found. So, Reuven follows Danny into the restroom at college and learns that the Reb has forbidden them to speak.
  • Dreary times are ahead. Reuven hates the Reb, and can’t understand why he can’t see his friend.
  • David suffers another heart attack. Reuven is completely alone and he throws himself into his studies.
  • Luckily, after the freeze comes the thaw. David recovers, and, when Israel becomes a reality, the Reb calms down and lets Danny and Reuven be friends again.
  • On Passover in 1949, Reuven sees his greatest wish come true: the Reb gives Danny his blessing to go into the field of psychology, instead of becoming the spiritual leader of the Hasidic community.