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Events contemporary to the novel come into play during this chapter, as had occurred during Reuven's stay in the hospital, but assume greater importance as they actually affect the characters in the novel. Potok prepares for this through the news of Franklin Roosevelt's death, which makes Reuven feel as if he has lost a father; this shows the significance that sociopolitical events may have on a character and leads the way to the great impact that news of the Holocaust has on the characters in The Chosen.
The news devastates Reuven. He had thought of FDR as being immortal, and he compares hearing the news of his death to hearing that God died.