The Chosen

by: Chaim Potok

Important Quotations Explained

Quotes Important Quotations Explained

Quote 5

“We shook hands and I watched him walk quickly away, tall, lean, bent forward with eagerness and hungry for the future, his metal capped shoes tapping against the sidewalk. Then he turned into Lee Avenue and was gone.”

This farewell scene is the final passage of The Chosen. Danny is about to leave the neighborhood to attend graduate school, and by ending with an emphasis on the fact that Danny “was gone,” Reuven reminds us that Danny is leaving, finally, the boundaries of his community. Danny has rejected the destiny that was chosen for him and has chosen his own path instead.

Because Reuven emphasizes his subjective perception of Danny’s departure, the passage is as much about Reuven as about Danny. Reuven mentions four of his senses in this description: touch (shaking hands), vision (watching Danny walk away), taste (“hungry for the future”), and hearing (Danny’s shoes tapping). This emphasis on all types of perception underscores the way Reuven is not only acutely aware of the world around him, he also experiences the world in multiple ways. This multisensory perspective reflects the way Reuven’s perception has broadened as a result of his friendship with Danny—just as Danny’s has deepened as result of his friendship with Reuven.

When reading The Chosen, we are tempted to see Danny’s conflict with his father as the only significant aspect of the novel. Yet Reuven is an equally significant character, and it is important to notice the way he too develops. The central story of The Chosen is not the story of Danny and his father, but the story of two friends and how they affect each other’s lives. For this reason, Potok closes the novel by emphasizing Danny and Reuven’s friendship and, through his emphasis on senses and perception, demonstrating how their view of the world has changed.