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Themes

Little Words, Big Ideas

Love

Love is deep, difficult, and mysterious in Chaim Potok’s The Chosen. The novel centers around two teenage boys who move from angry competition to friendship, and from friendship to brotherly...

Religion

The Chosen, set in post-World War II Brooklyn, New York, offers a crash course in Judaism and Jewish history. We watch two ultra-brilliant Jewish teenagers grow up. By "growing up," we mean that th...

Education

The main characters in The Chosen, two young men and their fathers, are obsessed with education. Hungry for learning, they spend most of their time reading, writing, and studying – or talking...

The Home

The idea of home is constantly in flux in The Chosen, and home is what all the characters are seeking. By "home," we mean a safe and harmonious place where they can grow around understanding people...

Memory and the Past

Memory and the past are crucial to Judaism, and Chaim Potok’s The Chosen makes this very clear. The theme is of primary importance in this novel for a variety of reasons. First of all, the st...

Visions of America

The main characters in The Chosen are first and second-generation Jewish immigrants living in Brooklyn, New York at the end of World War II and the years immediately following. To varying degrees,...

Identity

Identity is in a constant state of flux in The Chosen, especially for our hero. His identity has been mapped out for him by his father since he was born. He’s supposed to inherit the position...

Warfare

The Chosen is set in Brooklyn, New York, and begins as World War II is coming to a close and ends shortly after Israel is established as a state. So, war is huge factor in the novel, and references...
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