Study Guide

The Chosen Chapter 11

By Chaim Potok

Chapter 11

  • Danny and Reuven manage to see each other some during the first couple of months of the semester.
  • Danny doesn’t have much time for Freud lately, and what he had read in Freud, as mentioned, freaks him out.
  • He wants to talk to Reuven about it at length sometime.
  • It is a cold winter, and the war still rages on.
  • The Battle of the Bulge lasts from mid-December to mid-January, and Danny and Reuven don’t see each other at all.
  • At one point, Danny calls and says he had something important to discuss with Reuven, but, when Reuven asks how important, Danny says it can wait.
  • And it does.
  • Reuven and Danny see each other a couple of times for Talmud battles with the Reb, and, in March, the war seems closer to an end. The Reb says it’s the end of Hitler.
  • At the end of March, Danny gets sick and has to stay home from school. He gets sick again right away, and Reuven isn’t even allowed to visit him because he’s contagious.
  • On April 12, 1945, everybody gets a big shock – Franklin Delano Roosevelt dies of a cerebral hemorrhage.
  • The whole city is completely freaked out. FDR is believed not only to be the best friend of the Jews, but also to have saved the U.S. from the Great Depression.
  • (You can check out Shmoop’s coverage of the Great Depression and FDR's New Deal for more on this.)
  • That afternoon, David is so upset he goes to bed.
  • Reuven goes to bed, too, and bawls his eyes out for FDR, and for Billy, and for all the senselessness in the world, before falling into a difficult sleep.
  • When he wakes, it’s nighttime and he hears the radio on. He goes and listens with David until midnight.
  • After FDR’s funeral the next day, Danny calls Reuven – he’s finally well enough to use the phone. His family is fine, except his brother is now sick.
  • Reuven agrees to visit Danny on Saturday to discuss something important to Danny, but doesn’t make it because he comes down with something and winds up in bed with a fever for ten days.
  • After that, he spends all his time catching up in school.
  • Then, Reb Saunders and David Malter get sick. They are still sick in May, when the news of the end of World War II finally arrives.
  • Now, news of what the Holocaust really was start trickling out.
  • Nobody can believe it. Six million Jews tortured, murdered, incinerated.
  • The Reb tries to believe that somehow this is the will of God; David Malter says, no, and that it doesn’t matter – the important thing is to "rebuild Jewry in America."
  • Near the end of May, David is well enough to teach again, but, shortly after, has a big fat heart attack.
  • Reuven goes in to "blind panic" and completely breaks down for a few days, but snaps back.
  • Danny invites him to come and stay with them and David encourages him to accept the offer, so he does.