The Chosen


Chaim Potok

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The Chosen: Chapter 5 Summary & Analysis

Reuven and his father take a taxi back from the hospital and are greeted with an elaborate lunch by their housekeeper, Manya. After lunch Reuven walks around his home noting that he has lived here all his life but never really seen it. He describes each tiny detail: from the distance between the bookshelf and the window to the color of his bedspread.
Manya's presence emphasizes the fact that Reuven has no mother. Reuven’s detailed description of his home shows that his suffering has heightened his awareness. There is much to see in a place if you choose to look.
Choosing and Being Chosen Theme Icon
Fathers, Sons, and Rebellion Theme Icon
On his walls Reuven notes pictures of famous Jewish figures, images of war maps and Franklin Delano Roosevelt cut out from the New York Times and Albert Einstein from Junior Scholastic.
The Malter’s home shows the importance of Judaism ,secular intellectualism, and current events—the war—on their lives.
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Fathers, Sons, and Rebellion Theme Icon
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Reuven walks through his father’s room to get to the living room. Mr. Malter does not like to be disturbed while working, but Reuven walks through the dark, book-filled room quickly and notices all of a sudden that his father has not coughed once since they have come home.
Mr. Malter’s dislike of being disturbed shows that work and study is taken very seriously in this home. Mr. Malter’s health seems very closely connected to his son’s; it was his worry for Reuven that made him sick.
Fathers, Sons, and Rebellion Theme Icon
Reuven sits in his living room and looks out the window “tasting” the sights and sounds of the world. Everything looks brighter and more alive after his time in the white hospital ward. He cannot believe that his injury was only five days ago because he feels like a changed man. He remembers that Danny is coming tomorrow and sits thinking about him for a long time.
Potok writes this section as if Reuven has just returned from war. He is a changed man who has left “pieces of [his] old self behind.” After Reuven realizes that he has changed he sits and thinks about Danny, showing that Danny has been a large part of Reuven’s transformation.
Friendship Theme Icon
World War II and War Theme Icon
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