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

CHAPTER 11

Summary

When school begins again, Reuven becomes involved in school politics, leaving him less time to be with Danny. They do, however, try to frequently talk on the telephone to each other. When the two of them manage to meet, Reuven notices that Danny seems tense.

During the school year, both boys are sick. Danny first catches the flu, making it impossible for Reuven to visit him. Then Reuven catches a fever and has to remain in bed. Later Reb Saunders and Mr. Malter also fall ill.

Whenever it can be arranged, Reuven and Danny still study with the rabbi. During one of the study sessions, Reb Saunders tells the boys about the looting and plundering which he had seen in his youth and compares it to the current atrocities against the Jews at the hands of the Germans. Although he is bothered by the poor treatment of his people, he accepts it as God's plan. He exclaims, "How the world makes us suffer! It is the will of God." When Reuven returns home and repeats the rabbi's words to his father, Mr. Malter expresses his dissatisfaction at Reb Saunders' way of thinking about the will of God

The chapter is filled with news of the war. In the middle of December, the Germans launch an offensive against the Allied Forces in the Ardennes region. There are frightful reports of American casualties. By February the war reaches a peak with the Russians almost reaching Berlin. Hitler's defeat seems imminent. In the middle of April, news of Roosevelt's death is announced, and the whole nation seems stunned. People are seen sitting on trams, buses, and benches -- weeping silently.

Finally it is announced that the war is over; but the victory is spoiled in Williamsburg by the news of the German concentration camps, the horrors inflicted on the "prisoners," and the massive number of Jews who have lost their lives. When Reuven's father reads the gruesome details, he weeps like a child.

Two days after Reuven's final examinations, his father suffers a heart attack and has to be admitted to the Brooklyn Hospital. Reb Saunders invites Reuven to stay with them until his father returns home. Reuven accepts the invitation.

Notes

During the school year, Reuven and Danny are not able to spend as much time together; however, when it can be arranged, they still meet and study with the rabbi. Reuven continues to find it difficult to understand some of the philosophies of Reb Saunders. When the rabbi accepts the mistreatment of the Jews as God's will, Reuven is totally shocked; and so is his father when Reuven tells him about it.

Mr. Malter's heart attack, which upsets Reuven, is probably partially due to his stress level and his disinterest in his own declining health. Even though the rabbi does not care for the liberal Mr. Malter, he extends a helping hand to his son. While Mr. Malter is in the hospital, Reb Saunders suggests that Reuven come and stay with his family. It is a generous thing for the rabbi to do since he is opposed to almost everything that Mr. Malter stands for.

Throughout the chapter, the war is in the close background, and many details about it are given. All of the characters are talking about what is going on in Europe and constantly listening to news reports on the radio. The Jews are particularly interested in the war, since many of their friends and family members are still in Germany, open to mistreatment at the hand of the Nazis.

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