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 to war are on every page. Literal war drives many of the conflicts in the novel, and fuels the political conflicts that impact the characters in many ways. These conflicts leak into their personal and family lives, forcing them to make difficult choices. In the end, love wins out – but not without inner battles which might leave characters battle-scarred for life.
Even though World War II and the conflict in Palestine are seen only from afar in The Chosen, they drive all the major conflicts in the novel.