The Chosen

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.”

Eyes and Blindness Quotes in The Chosen

The The Chosen quotes below all refer to the symbol of Eyes and Blindness. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
Judaism and Tradition Theme Icon
). Note: all page numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the Fawcett edition of The Chosen published in 1987.
Chapter 2 Quotes

“Things are always what they seem to be, Reuven? Since when?”

Related Characters: David Malter (speaker), Reuven Malter
Related Symbols: Eyes and Blindness
Page Number: 50
Explanation and Analysis:

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I couldn’t imagine what it was like to know that no matter whether my eyes were opened or closed it made no difference, everything was still dark.

Related Characters: Reuven Malter (speaker)
Related Symbols: Eyes and Blindness
Page Number: 53
Explanation and Analysis:

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Chapter 11 Quotes

It was as senseless, as – I held my breath, feeling myself shiver with fear – as Billy’s blindness was senseless. That was it. It was as senseless, as empty of meaning, as Billy’s blindness. I lay there and thought of Roosevelt being dead and Billy being blind, and finally I turned over and lay with my face on the pillow and felt myself crying. I cried a long time.

Related Characters: Reuven Malter (speaker), Billy Merrit
Related Symbols: Eyes and Blindness
Page Number: 188
Explanation and Analysis:

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Chapter 15 Quotes

We had begun to communicate with our eyes, with nods of our heads, with gestures of our hands.

Related Characters: Reuven Malter (speaker), Danny Saunders
Related Symbols: Eyes and Blindness, Silence
Page Number: 255-256
Explanation and Analysis:

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Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.

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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)