Father Son Relationships In The Chosen

Good Essays
Chaim Potok’s The Chosen explores two father son relationships, one between the Malters and one between the Saunders. In the final chapter of the book, Danny and Reb Saunders finally come to an understanding of each other, but not without the help of Reuven. Although they are a strong family, the Saunders need an outside force to help them communicate and solve Danny’s problems overall. The last chapter covers the need for suffering and pain and shows how Danny grows with Reuven’s help.
Despite the conflict of intellect versus religion for him, Danny assumes that his father’s harsh upbringing is not in a cruel way, but is a part of his training as tzaddik. In the end of the book, Reb Saunders eventually confesses his reasons for forcing silence into Danny’s childhood. Instead of using it as a way to distance himself from his son and show a lack of love, Reb Saunders explains that his silence had intentions of Danny becoming empathetic and merciful.
“[My father] taught me with silence. He taught me to look inside myself, to find my own strength, to walk around inside myself in company with my soul. When his people would ask why he was so silent with his son, he would say to them that he did not like to talk, words are cruel, words play tricks, they distort what is in the heart, they conceal the heart, the heart speaks through silence” (284).
He also refers to how his father raised him in silence to show the strength that silence imposed on their family. A tzaddik has to take on the pain and suffering of his people and silence was used as a heuristic device so that Danny learned how to handle hardship:
“One learns of the pain of others by suffering one’s own pain, he would say, by turning inside oneself, by finding one’s...

... middle of paper ...

...ould lead to a greater outcome in hopes that the ends would justify the means. The hope that his son would be a good person rather than an intelligent one with no soul pushed him to be harsh and cruel but overall, left his son with empathy, strength, a relationship with his father, and a connection with God and the world around him.
In the final chapter, after Reb Saunders is finished talking to Reuven, he turns to his son. For the first time outside of services, Reb Saunders speaks to his son directly, without Reuven’s help. This is a big moment for their relationship and is a turning point where Danny sees that his father is making an effort at finally communicating with him. He also sees that his father finally knows that he is a good and empathetic person and is willing to trust him to go out in the world with inner strength and the knowledge of suffering.
Get Access