The Chosen

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The Chosen Chapter 16 Summary & Analysis

Summary
Analysis
Reuven and Danny, after not speaking for more than two years, talk about the silence they both had to endure. But the conversation quickly turns to Reb Saunders’ silence towards his son. Reuven now hates Reb Saunders and has no sympathy for his methods even though Danny still defends them. Reuven helps Danny with his math.
After not talking for two years, they return to conversation right where they left off – with Reb Saunders’ silence. They both have knew knowledge about the power of silence now, and Reuven has come to hate it even more.
Themes
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Reuven tells Mr. Malter what happened when he comes home and Mr. Malter says, “what a price to pay for a soul” but will not explain any further. But Reuven describes that his “eyes were dark.”
Mr. Malter is also using silence now and Reuven returns to the symbol of the eye, which here is shown as a method of transmitting (or withholding) information.
Themes
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Danny and Reuven continue their old habit of meeting before and after school. They now dominate Rav Gershenson’s class with their debates. Danny tells Reuven that he has now become resigned to experimental psychology and has started to enjoy it and be more critical of Freud.
Danny has come to a positive conclusion about experimental psychology through open conversation with Prof. Appleman. This shows the value of communication when making choices, which Danny lacks in other areas of his life.
Themes
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Danny has decided to become a clinical psychologist, which means that he will work with people. He will need a doctorate to do this and Appleman has suggested that he attend Columbia. Danny has decided to apply, but he has not yet told his father. Reuven says that he can’t believe Danny will become a psychologist and Danny responds that he can’t believe Reuven will become a rabbi.
Danny has made his choice but has not yet communicated it to his father, which will be his next hurdle. In their career choices Reuven and Danny are opposites of each other but fit perfectly together, which has been and important part of their friendship from the beginning.
Themes
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Fathers, Sons, and Rebellion Theme Icon
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Reuven goes to Danny’s sister’s wedding and he is the only person there who is not a Hasid. Reb Saunders has aged a lot since he last saw him. Reuven does not like the man she is marrying, who looks severe and has a “limp and moist” handshake.
Again, Reuven shows that he dislikes the lack of choice in Hasidic religion and traditions.
Themes
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Reuven goes over to see Reb Saunders at the end of the school year. As they are walking up to his study, and old man reaches out and touches Danny’s arm and Reuven finds this “distasteful,” and he is beginning to feel similarly towards everything associated with Hasidism and Reb Saunders. Reb Saunders asks Reuven why he hasn’t been coming over on Shabbat afternoon and Reuven says that he is now studying with his father. Reb Saunders says he wishes he could spend more time talking with Reuven anyway. Reb Saunders mentions nothing about Zionism or the silence he imposed on his son and Reuven, and Reuven decides that he dislikes him even more.
Reuven finds that almost everything in Hasidic tradition is distasteful to him. He especially dislikes the fanatical way in which they worship their leaders. Reb Saunders’ avoidance of any mention of Zionism gives Reuven another example of how much he dislikes the Hasidic practice of silence. Reuven is a believer in open communication. Yet, at the same time, Reuven has no desire to ever communicate with Reb Saunders, although Reb Saunders clearly wants to speak with him.
Themes
Judaism and Tradition Theme Icon
Choosing and Being Chosen Theme Icon
Fathers, Sons, and Rebellion Theme Icon