The Promise by Chaim Potok

758 Words4 Pages
The Promise by Chaim Potok

1.In 10-12 sentences, write a brief outline of the plot of the novel. Be

sure to make clear the major conflict of the story.

1.In the beginning of the novel, the main character, Reuben, is spending

some time with his father at their cottage. His friend, Rachel is also

vacationing nearby. Reuben finds out that Rachel's 14 year old cousin,

Michael, is mentally ill, and Reuben seems to be the only person Michael

will talk to. Near the end of the summer, Reuben's best friend Danny comes

to visit Reuben and the Gordons (Rachel's family) invite Danny over to

discuss Michael because Danny is a genius, and he is studying psychology.

At the summer's end, Michael is put into the treatment centre at which

Danny is working. Reuben becomes friends with Michael's father, Abraham

Gordon, a very respected scholar. Unfortunately, his ideas are not approved

by Reuben's professor, Rav Kalman. Rav Kalman tells Reuben that if he

continues to see Abraham and Michael Gordon, he will not be given his

smicha, the degree which he has been working to get for so long. Also,

Michael does not respond well to the treatment centre, and bec omes

violent. Danny decides to use an experimental treatment on Michael, which

involves not letting him talk to anyone or interact with anything except

his therapist. The major conflict is when Michael becomes catatonic, and it

seems as if Reuben will not get his smicha and Michael will never be cured.

Danny decides to have a long conversation with Rav Kalman, and convinces

him to at least give Reuben the smicha examination. During the examination,

Reuben uses a method called test emendation, which is stric...

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...of the following categories below to describe how you would

rate the book. Making reference to the novel's subject matter, language,

character development and other elements, explain why you rated the book as

you did.

5.I would rate the book as very interesting. I would rate it in this way

becuase, first, I could indentify with the subject. I knew most of the

Hebrew or Yiddish terms before the author translated them, and although it

did not apply directly to me, I could see paralels between the novel and my

own life. The language in the novel was well choosen, at an in-between

level, not too hard to understand, but very well written. Some of the

metaphores used in the book were so brilliant, I would have rather done a

full novel study of this book, because I know I must have missed so much of

the depth of the novel.
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