The Chosen

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Eyes and Blindness Symbol Analysis

Eyes and Blindness Symbol Icon
Reuven’s injured and nearly blinded eye plays a key role in The Chosen from early on in the novel. Even after he heals the threat of blindness continues. In a world that so honors knowledge, the ability to perceive and receive information regarding both the outside world and oneself is of great importance. The novel is punctuated by moments of single-minded hatred or blind misunderstanding, which can only be overcome through careful observation. Mr. Malter also uses the eye as a symbol of life when he lectures his son on the need to make an impact during his short time on earth: “the eye that blinks, that is something.” Potok adds power to his use of the eye by depicting them as a means of communication as well as perception. Reuven and Danny communicate with their eyes when they are not allowed to talk; Mr. Malter’s eyes become dark when he is angry; and Reb Saunders asserts that he knew of Danny’s choice to become a psychologist by stating that he could “see his eyes.”
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Eyes and Blindness Symbol Timeline in The Chosen

The timeline below shows where the symbol Eyes and Blindness appears in The Chosen. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 13
Judaism and Tradition Theme Icon
Choosing and Being Chosen Theme Icon
Fathers, Sons, and Rebellion Theme Icon
Friendship Theme Icon
...of the Hasidic students avoid all contact with him. He is angry with “Reb Saunders’ blindness” and frustrated “at Danny’s helplessness.” Reuven talks to his father about this and his father... (full context)
Judaism and Tradition Theme Icon
Fathers, Sons, and Rebellion Theme Icon
...lays awake thinking of everything he and Danny had done since his ball struck Reuven’s eye. (full context)
Chapter 14
Judaism and Tradition Theme Icon
World War II and War Theme Icon
...silence hurts Reuven so much that it starts to affect his grades. He feels a “blind, raging fury” towards Reb Saunders. Reb Saunders starts staging anti-Zionist rallies, which are not successful.... (full context)
Judaism and Tradition Theme Icon
Fathers, Sons, and Rebellion Theme Icon
Friendship Theme Icon
...and Danny looks thin and pale. He does not even acknowledge Reuven and appears almost blind, which makes Reuven very angry. Reuven tries to forget Danny but cannot, especially because they... (full context)
Chapter 16
Fathers, Sons, and Rebellion Theme Icon
Friendship Theme Icon
...pay for a soul” but will not explain any further. But Reuven describes that his “eyes were dark.” (full context)