55 pages 1 hour read

Chaim Potok

The Chosen

Fiction | Novel | YA | Published in 1967

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Symbols & Motifs


The baseball (softball) game is a symbol of war, with Galanter using war diction and Danny’s team viewing the game as a battle between good Jews (his team) and bad Jews (Reuven’s team). Referring to Danny’s team, Reuven tells his dad, “They turned the game into a war” (72). The symbol alludes to World War II, and links to the motif of the personal and political. In Chapter 1, Reuven and the boys don’t experience a real war but a figurative war. World War II has yet to play an explicit role in the story.

As the baseball game becomes a thing of the past, the literal war takes over and invades the characters' personal space. The war is inseparable from the Holocaust, which connects to Zionism and the dispute over the existence of Israel. As their dads are on different sides of the Zionism conflict, they have to stop being friends. The story pivots from a figurative war that impacts the personal lives of the characters but not the greater world to a literal war that impacts the world and the specific characters.