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Free Study Guide-The Chosen by Chaim Potok-Free Online Booknotes
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PLOT STRUCTURE ANALYSIS

The plot of The Chosen is divided into three parts. Book I, from chapter 1 through chapter 4, is largely introductory, presenting the Williamsburg setting and Jewish lifestyle and introducing the main characters and their problems. It also serves to bring Danny and Reuven together so that the rising action of the plot can unfold.

Book II, from chapter 5 through chapter 12, is largely devoted to the developing relationship between Reuven and Danny. Although they have completely opposite backgrounds, which are carefully revealed, they become the closet of friends and help each other with their studies and problems. It is as if Reuven, who enjoys a close relationship with his father, has been "chosen" to help Danny come to terms with the taciturn Rabbi Saunders and to find his place in the world.


Book III, from chapter 13 through chapter 18, leads to the climactic moments of the novel and its consequent outcomes. The war comes to an end, and the American Jews learn about the atrocities committed against the European Jews by Hitler. When most Jews react with Zionist activities, the friendship between Danny and Reuven is temporarily broken by Reb Saunders, due to the liberal politics of Reuven's father. After the state of Israel is approved by the United Nations, Danny dares to resume his friendship with Reuven. He tells him of his plans to become a clinical psychologist and reveals that he has still not been brave enough to tell his father he will not become a rabbi, as expected. In the climax, Reb Saunders breaks his silence with his son. He reveals that he has been concerned about Danny's soul and has known Danny's career plan for a long time. When he blesses Danny's choice of being a psychologist rather than a rabbi, both Danny and Reuven are shocked, but pleased. In the falling action, the rabbi is seen telling his congregation about his son's decision to become a psychologist. Danny is also seen thinking about his father. He realizes the rabbi's deep love for him and considers raising his own future son in the old Hasidic tradition of silence.

The novel ends in comedy. Danny has found himself and accepted his father. As he heads off to study clinical psychology in graduate school, there is a sense of peace and calm for him. The reader is left with the feeling that Danny will certainly be a success. He will also feel closer to his father in the future.

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