Chaim Potok's The Chosen – Rueven and Danny

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The Chosen – Rueven and Danny In the novel, The Chosen, Chaim Potok successfully captures the strange customs of a Jewish community through wit and satire. Potok's novel focuses on two Jewish boys, who live in a world where their families expect high standards of achievement of them. The wish to become an insightful leader in the Jewish community was an always-predominant custom of the two families. But with hard work and perseverance, the two boys (Rueven and Danny), find out that they really are, and what lives they will lead in the future. The novel concentrates on the desire to conceive a person's personal wants while conforming to tradition. The basis of all the conflicts in the entire novel stem from the differences in family life, which are brought on by the discrepancies of religious beliefs. Rueven, who is an Orthodox Jew, goes to a parochial school where Hebrew is taught instead of Yiddish (which would be considered the first Jewish language). Rueven's school is also very integrated with many English-speaking classes. But on the other hand, Danny, who attends a yeshiva (also a Jewish school), considers himself a true Jew because he (unlike Rueven) wears the traditional side curls and is educated in Yiddish. At first the two boys cannot stand each other, many times Danny refers to Rueven as "apikorsim," (32) which basically translates to... someone who is not true to their religion. These differences between the two soon become obsolete with one unfortunate accident, and make them realize they could use each other to get through some hard times. "Silence is all we dread. There's ransom in a voice--But Silence is infinity."-Emily Dickinson Emily Dickinson's quote can be related to the novel in several ways. "Silence is all we dread," can relate to Danny's lifestyle and how he cannot stand the silence in which his father lives. The only time Danny makes conversation with his father is when he is studying the Talmud. " It occurred to me suddenly that not a single word had passed between him and his father all evening, except for the Talmud contest" (145). This silence is basically what drove Danny to search for guidance or someone to talk to. "There's ransom in a voice," relates to Rueven being Danny's savior. As Danny explains to Rueven what he said to his father, "I told him we were good friends, I really think we are" (119).

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