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Free Study Guide-The Chosen by Chaim Potok-Free Online Booknotes
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CHAPTER SUMMARY AND NOTES

CHAPTER 2

Summary

As Reuven is being driven to Brooklyn Memorial Hospital, the pain in his eye is so great that he feels dizzy and nauseous. In spite of his discomfort, he apologizes to Mr. Galanter for putting him through so much trouble.

At the hospital, two doctors carefully examine Reuven's eye. Their silence is ominous. Then a third doctor is called to examine Reuven, and his father is summoned. Reuven is also to be taken upstairs for further examination. On the elevator, Reuven finds that the fluorescent light keeps changing colors. He next notices that his pain intensifies. Then suddenly he loses consciousness.

When he regains consciousness, Reuven finds himself feeling much better. He then realizes he is in a hospital room with two other people. One of the patients, Mr. Savo, is a man with a bandage around his head, covering one eye; the other is an angelic looking boy, named Billy, who Reuven later realizes is totally blind. Reuven makes conversation with both his neighbors. Before long, he realizes that he has been unconscious for more than a day.


David Malter soon enters, looking gray and ill with worry. He tells his son that he has had surgery to remove a sliver of glass that was lodged in his eye. He also reveals that Reuven will probably be left partially blind. The boy is shocked.

Notes

On the way to the hospital, Mr. Galanter, the coach, is obviously shaken by Reuven's injury. Even though the boy is in great pain, Reuven tries to reassure his coach. He even apologizes for causing him so much trouble. It is obvious that Reuven is kind-hearted and mannerly, having been brought up well.

From the moment the doctors begin to examine Reuven's eye, it becomes apparent that the injury is serious. They call in a third doctor, summon Reuven's father, and send the boy upstairs for further examination. The fact that the lights in the elevator seem to change color to Reuven is further evidence that there is serious damage to his vision.

Reuven's pain is so great that he loses consciousness. When he awakes after a day, he finds himself in a hospital room with two other patients. He also learns form his worried father that he has had eye surgery and will probably be left partially blind. Reuven feels immediate anger towards Danny, the boy who batted the ball that hit him and caused his injury. His father is upset that Reuven feels bitterness for another human being and castigates him for his feelings. Reuven's liberal father shows his upright and steadfast values.

The blind, angelic looking boy next in the bed next to Reuven serves a specific purpose. He makes Reuven think about the importance of his own eyes. He thinks to himself, "I had always taken them for granted, the way I took for granted all the rest of my body and also my mind." The man on the other side of Reuven brings some comic relief to the grim setting, as he tries to inject some humor into the situation. He even makes Reuven laugh.

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