55 pages 1 hour read

Chaim Potok

The Chosen

Fiction | Novel | YA | Published in 1967

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Book 2, Chapters 8-12Chapter Summaries & Analyses

Book 2, Chapter 8 Summary

Returning to school for the first time since the baseball game, the boys treat Reuven like a hero, and Davey Cantor calls Danny “snooty.” Done with school, Reuven meets Danny at the majestic three-story public library. Over the entrance is a quote about truth and beauty from the English Romantic poet John Keats. There’s a mural of Moses, Jesus, Mohammed, the 17th-century scientist Galileo, Einstein, and others. There’s also a mural of Homer, Dante, William Shakespeare, and other literary figures.

Reuven finds Danny on the third floor, where it’s not crowded. As Reuven can’t read due to the surgery, he watches Danny read. Not wanting to bother Danny, Reuven sits at a table a few feet away, closes his eyes, and reviews math problems in his head.

Danny spots Reuven and makes fun of him for sleeping before reading him a passage from History of the Jews (1853-75)—the multivolume history of the Jewish people published by the 19th-century Jewish Polish historian Heinrich Graetz. Danny learns about Dov Baer. Graetz claims Baer created the idea of the tzaddik and presents him as corrupt. He made followers give him gifts, told crass jokes, and had spies. Yet Danny’s dad describes Baer as a “saint.