Notes on The Chosen Themes

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The Chosen Topic Tracking: Friendship

Friendship 1: Reuven first recognizes his relationship with Danny as mocking. He believes the apologies to be false and insincere, especially coming on the phone from Reb Saunders.

Friendship 2: Reuven easily befriends his roommates in the hospital ward, Billy and Tony. They are also suffering from ocular injuries in different ways. Billy is blind, while Tony loses one eye during an operation. Reuven compares himself to them and feels fortunate for having both of his eyes heal properly. Billy cares about Reuven as a friend, while Tony cannot understand Reuven's budding friendship with the boy who hit him in the face with a baseball, Danny.

Friendship 3: Danny and Reuven let their guards down and simply talk for the first time in the hospital. They instantly become friends, as they discuss their activities, desires, and fears. Reuven is excited about seeing Danny the following day at his house and Danny rushes home to tell his father about his new friend.

Friendship 4: Mr. Malter tells Reuven to befriend Danny Saunders because he is in desperate need of a good friend. He reminds Reuven that the Talmud teaches people to find two things: a good teacher and a good friend.

Friendship 5: As Reuven meets Danny's family and community, he learns that Reb Saunders must meet and approve of all of Danny's friends - especially those outside the fold. If a friend is not Hasidic, then he believes he or she may have a negative influence on Danny's lifestyle. Reuven cannot believe such a tyrannical method of parenting exists and believes he would not be able to thrive in such a strict world.

Friendship 6: Reb Saunders speaks privately with Reuven, revealing his pride in Danny and his friendship with Reuven. He knows that Reuven needs a good friend and that a friend is not an easy thing to be. Reuven understands these words and accepts the responsibility of friendship with Danny Saunders.

Friendship 7: Reuven is excommunicated from the Hasidic community and Danny's life. He is heartbroken over the ban and is shocked that Zionism is the thing that destroys their friendship, not Freud or the library.

Friendship 8: Reuven sees the sympathetic and painful looks on Danny's face and understands that they now are communicating in silence. Their friendship still lives, yet completely without words.

Friendship 9: When Danny sits down next to Reuven after the two year silence and begins a conversation, he re-opens their friendship. Reuven is hurt over the loss and admits that he needed Danny while his father was ill.

Friendship 10: Reuven recalls meeting Reb Saunders and hearing the significance and importance of being a true friend. It is not an easy job. Reb Saunders welcomes Reuven again as Danny's friend and wonders why he does not study with them anymore.

Friendship 11: Danny and Reuven embrace, weeping over the breakthrough with Reb Saunders, their future lives apart, and their years of friendship together.

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