The Chosen Reading Journal Chapter One 1. “Remember why and for whom we play.” (p. 16) This passage shows the rabbi of Reuvens rival team telling his players to focus and concentrate on the importance of the baseball game they are about to play. They are playing for the glory of their God and not to just have fun. To these young teenage boys their religion has importance in all aspects of their life even their after school recreational activities. 2.
The first pitch was low, and Danny Saunders ignored it. The second one started to come in shoulder-high, and before it was two thirds of the way to the plate, I was standing on second base. (p. 30) This seemingly irrelevant scene in the book is actually very important because it shows how Reuven controls his own destiny. Anticipating what is going to happen based on previous experience is crucial, not just in baseball but also in life.
Reuven was the only one on his team that reacted like this and it shows his leadership abilities in key situations. Chapter Two 3. “Enjoy your meal,” she said smiling. “Thank you very much,” I said. I had been concerned about eating. (p.
44) As soon as Reuven regained consciousness in the hospital his main concern was remaining kosher according to his religion. His natural instinct of hunger was put after the desire to obey his Jewish beliefs. This shows what a key factor Reuvens religion is to him in all aspects of life. 4. “Its not all right,” I said “I want you to tell me.” “There is nothing to tell you.
They told me it was all right.” “Abba, please tell me whats the matter.” (p. 48) This passage explains the close connection between Reuven and his father. The boy can tell when his father is not being completely honest with him and Reuven longs to know what is going to happen to his eye. In his time of pain and concern Reuven knows that he can confide in his “Abba” for help and comforting. Chapter Three 5.
Also, yesterday I had hated him; now we were calling each other by our first names. (p. 68) Reuven explains in this passage the change in emotions he felt towards Danny. The previous day Reuven deeply hated Danny but now they began to spend time together and grow as friends. It is also ironic that these two boys would probably never get to know each other if it was not for Reuvens injury.
6. “What would have happened if you had lost?” “I dont like to think about that. You dont know my father.” “So you practically had to beat us.” (p. 71) Here Danny tells Reuven that to the Hasidic softball team it was more than a game; it was an expression of Hasidic dominance. Dannys father, the Hasidic rabbi in the area formed the team for the sole purpose of glorifying his religion and failure was not an option for Danny and his team.
Chapter Four 7. “I read a lot,” he said. “I read about seven or eight books a week outside of my school work.” (p. 79) Danny is telling Reuven about himself and his studying habits. Danny is an extremely intelligent person who reads on his own for the sole purpose of possessing that extra knowledge. This impresses Reuven who is also on a quest for knowledge and he only reads three or four books a week.
8. I suddenly realized it was my father who all along had been suggesting books for Danny to read. My father was the man Danny had been meeting in the library. Reuven is surprised to find out that his “enemy” was actually a friend of his father for almost two months before the two boys met on the baseball field. In this complicated friendship the two boys are just getting to know each other while the father has been guiding each of them individually for quite some time.
Only through a baseball injury are these people all brought together. Chapter Five 9. I had lived init all my life, but I never really saw it until I went through it that Friday afternoon. (p.94) Reuven now values the things he once took for granted; even an insignificant plant outside his house is exciting to him. It is not until something is taken away from Reuven that he notices the importance of it.
10. I felt I had crossed into another world, that pieces of my old self had been left behind on the black asphalt floor of the school yard alongside the shattered lens of my glasses. (p. 96) Along with the physical change of the temporary loss of eyesight Reuven has also gone through a mental transformation while in the hospital. His old passive lifestyle changed once he realized that at any moment it could all be over.
Being injured was a tremendous growing experience and without being in this accident Reuven would not have matured as much as he did. Chapter Six 11. There was color now in my fathers face and his cough had disappeared. (p. 97) Reuvens injury was a traumatic experience for both father and son. Mr.
Malter was pale and sick during Reuvens struggle in the hospital and this shows how much he cared for his son. With Mrs. Malter gone Reuven is the only true friend he has and both father and son need each other. 12 Reb Saunders son is a terribly torn and lonely boy. There is literally no one in the World he can talk to. He needs a friend. The accident with the baseball has bound Him to you.” (p.
106) Mr. Malter makes it clear to Reuven just how important it is to be friends with Danny Saunders. Although very gifted and educated Danny struggles daily with the loneliness of having no one to confide in. what seemed like a terrible event at the baseball field was a blessing in disguise that will bring these two boys who need each other, together. Chapter Seven 13. Danny was probably going to have as much trouble with his friends over our relationship as I would have with mine. (p.
118) Reuven and Danny are from two different social groups with dissimilar qualities that make it difficult for the two boys to be friends. It is a classic problem in literature; for example: Romeo and Juliet. The main difference in Danny and Reuvens friendship from Romeo and Juliets relationship is that the two boys do not try to hide their friendship. 14. He glanced at me, his face a mixture of surprise and relief, and I realized that I, too, had passed some kind of test.” (p.
134) Reuven has just been quizzed by Reb Saunders and he answered the question correctly. This is a big step in Reuven and Dannys friendship because it shows Mr. Saunders that Reuven is an acceptable friend. Both parents now approve of the friendship between their sons even though the fathers do not always agree and this also shows the maturity and understanding of the men. Chapter Eight 15.
I decided after a while to review by heart some of the symbolic logic I had been studying. (p.144) This passage shows how the two friends, Danny and Reuven, push each other to further their knowledge. When Reuven sees Danny reading a book it makes him want to do something for himself that will make him smarter. It is an undeclared competition between the boys to see who is more dedicated to their education. 16.
Reb Saunders was far happier when he lost to Danny than when he won. (p. 155/156) In the religious quizzing that took place between Reb Saunders and his son the father took pride in seeing his son succeed even if it meant that Mr. Saunders was proved wrong lost. Mr.
Saunders taught Danny most of what he knows and seeing this knowledge Transfer from generation to generation makes Reb happy. He knows that through these friendly games between father and son Danny will learn what his father knows and eventually take his place. Chapter Nine 17. My fathers eyes were misty when we left the office. (p. 162) Reuven was just told that his eye was fine and that he could do all the things he used to do including reading.
This was extremely relieving to his father; Mr. Malter continually worried about Reuven while he was in the hospital and even when he got out because of his eye. Everything was physically back to normal with Reuven and this brought his father to tears. 18. I bent and blew hard against the web. It swayed, but remained intact.
I Blew again, harder now, and the strands seemed to suddenly melt. (p. 165) Reuven was sitting on his porch moments after hearing the bad news of Billys unsuccessful surgery and he felt helpless, just like the horsefly stuck in the spiders web. Reuven wanted to do something good so he destroyed the web that the fly was stuck in and this allowed it to escape. What Reuven did not realize was the fact that by releasing the fly and tearing down the web he might have killed the spider that needed the fly to survive. It is ironic that Reuvens attempt at a good deed might have been hurtful.
Chapter Ten 19. I joined him there every afternoon, and frequently my father came with me. (p. 166) Danny and Reuvens friendship has grown and they both rely on each other for help and companionship. Now that it is summer they meet every day in the library to do their reading together.
Reuvens father also acts as a mentor to Danny who has no father figure who he can turn to for help with his studying. 20. Miserable, he said. Had I ever sat in a bus with my father for hours and not exchanged a single word of conversation, except for a short discussion about a passage of Talmud? No. Danny has no one he can talk to for advice and his father is more of a school teacher than a loving mentor that the fifteen year old boy needs. Mr.
Saunders method of teaching Danny what he needs to know later in life is making him a smart person but Danny does not want to inherit his fathers Hasidic leadership …