The Chosen, a fiction novel written in 1967 by Chaim Potok, is about two young Jewish boys and their friendship. It takes us along with them on their journey from adolescence to adulthood. They face many conflicts, and through those trials the author makes his readers think more deeply into life’s true meanings.
The novel was set in New York during the Second World War. Since the main characters are Jews, this period of time is very significant. Not only were the Jews persecuted during WWII, but New York was also close to a military base, which made it a prime target for bombing. Even the setting has an underlying sense of tension.
One of the protagonists in The Chosen is Reuven Malter. Reuven is an orthodox Jewish boy. He is a very smart and diligent student. His father, David Malter raises Reuven alone in Brooklyn, New York as his mother has already passed away. Reuven has glasses, brown hair and eyes, and dresses in the typical orthodox manner. A plain boy, he has a bright mind and a very caring soul.
The other protagonist in the novel is Danny Saunders. Danny is the son of a very devoted Hasidic Jewish tzaddik. However, Danny is not a very enthusiastic Hasid. He has earlocks, grows a beard, and wears the traditional Hasidic outfit, but he doesn't have the reverence for it that he should. Danny is a genius. His religion forbids him to read literature from the outside world, so he struggles with his thirst for knowledge and the restraints that have been put on him by both his father and his religion. He lives with his father, mother, older sister, and younger brother in Brooklyn as well.
The first antagonist is Danny. He and Reuven had many difficulties. They resolve their problems in the course of the book, but at the beginning they hate each other. Their religious views are also very opposite. Once they overcome their differences, they become best friends.
Reb Saunders is the second antagonist. A Hasidic tzaddik, he led his people into freedom in America. Reb has strange ideas on raising Danny. He believes that silence will teach Danny compassion and give him an understanding for pain. He does not talk to his son about anything but the Talmud. Loving and respecting each other immensely, Reb and Danny just never get a chance to express their feelings with one another. Reb holds Danny back and do...
... middle of paper ...
...alizes that he can’t expect to keep such a genius in the cage. Reb finds out about Danny’s plans for the future, and although they contradict the way he would have wanted Danny to continue with his life, he agrees to let Danny decide for himself. Satisfied as a father, Reb says, “…I had to make certain his soul would be the soul of a tzaddik no matter what he did with his life.” Once Reb has given his son freedom, Danny remains faithful to his religion and, although he is not as devout, goes out into the world.
Throughout this novel, there is an underlying force of prejudice. The two different Jewish sects are prejudiced against one another. Alongside, WWII also has a lot of prejudices locked up in it. The Zionist and anti-Zionist movements were prejudiced toward each other and many of these examples are found in the novel.
Reuven Malter narrated The Chosen. This gives it a youthful perspective. It is very descriptive. Potok used many detailed vocabulary words to communicate his point. A lot of figurative language helps develop analogies and insights, as well. The Chosen is a very insightful novel about the Jewish culture and the trials that come with growing up.
Need Writing Help?
Get feedback on grammar, clarity, concision and logic instantly.Check your paper »
- Silence in The Chosen In the book The Chosen the four main characters have different views on how children should be raised. Danny Saunders was said to be raised in silence. Danny was raised in silence in that communication was cut off between Danny and his father, except when they were studying Talmud. The reason Danny’s father did not speak to his son is because Rabbi Saunders wanted to have Danny think things through himself. Reb Saunders also wanted Danny to grow up in the same manner he himself was raised.... [tags: Potok Chosen Essays]
629 words (1.8 pages)
- Chaim Potok's The Chosen In the book The Chosen, by Chaim Potok, Reuven Malter is shaped by everyone around him. During this interaction his character becomes more developed and engaging. Through the interactions, it becomes apparent that Reuven’s father is always teaching his child how to improve himself. The conversations between Reuven and his father help prepare Reuven develop the mentality and the personal qualities, such as wisdom, compassion, and tolerance, necessary to become a rabbi. In all of their conversations, Mr.... [tags: Chaim Potok Chosen Essays]
1165 words (3.3 pages)
- Chaim Potok's The Chosen David Malter was part of the Jewish sect that took on a more modern approach. He is very understanding, and he cares very deeply for his son Reuven. Reuven and his father's relationship would be considered healthy by most people. They love each other very much, and they have a very open communication with each other. David Malter sought for every opportunity to teach his son from the Talmud, the Jewish Holy book. At the beginning of the book, Reuven was in the hospital as a result of Danny Saunders intentionally hitting a fast line-drive that hit Reuven in the face.... [tags: Analysis Chosen Potok]
1590 words (4.5 pages)
- In The Chosen, Potok describes the Jewish culture during the period of World War I. Beginning with the affluence of Polish Jews before the war, Potok established a circle of relationships. In the book, there are three main relationships. The first one is father-son, between Danny and his father, Reb Saunders and between Reuven and his father, David Malter. The relationship between Reuven and Danny is the second main relationship in The Chosen. The third main relationship is Hasidism verses Zionism.... [tags: Potok The Chosen Relationship Literary Criticism]
766 words (2.2 pages)
- 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.... [tags: Potok Chosen Essays]
765 words (2.2 pages)
- Baseball is a rugged sport, uniquely American. Two Jewish boys meet during one of the most hotly contested baseball games of the high school season, in New York City during World War II. The teams’ rivalry—one team are Hassidim, the other orthodox—fuels intense acrimony between them until a freak accident during the game sends one to the hospital with an injury that nearly costs him an eye. The near loss of the boy’s eye creates a bond between the boys which develops into a deep and lasting friendship.... [tags: The Chosen, Chaim Potok]
910 words (2.6 pages)
- The Power of The Chosen Throughout the book, 'The Chosen', Chaim Potok used the way of the Jewish lifestyle to teach his readers of the Jewish people. Potok used a variety of techniques including diction where he introduced Jewish terms, the theme of silence, and conflict between father and son to make the novel appealing. Furthermore, this novel tells us of the life of Jews and their commitment to religion; "We are commanded to study His Torah. We are commanded to sit in the light of the Presence.... [tags: Potok Chosen Essays]
667 words (1.9 pages)
- The Lesson of The Chosen The Chosen, written by Chaim Potok, is about two boys from different religious sects that become friends despite all of their conflicts. Danny and Reuven participated in a baseball game against each other and Danny smacked the ball directly into Reuven's face, shattered his glasses, and a piece of glass penetrated his eye. Danny went to visit him in the hospital but, before he could say anything, Reuven started screaming at Danny and commanded him to leave while Danny only wanted to say that he was sorry.... [tags: Potok Chosen Essays]
1007 words (2.9 pages)
- Human Nature Exposed in The Chosen A bad thing is only truly bad if you fail to make good of it. The Chosen by Chaim Potok is a testimant to the human ability to learn, grow and prosper from adversity. The story is filled with examples of situations in which something that may seem bad at the time, later reaps great rewards. In the initial portion of The Chosen one of the main characters, Reuven Malter, is struck in the eye by a baseball hit by the other main character, Danny Saunders.... [tags: Potok Chosen Essays]
449 words (1.3 pages)
- Creation of Identity in The Chosen Many forces can powerfully change the identity of a person. In the novel, The Chosen, a few of these forces are religion, family, and friends. Religion is one of the main points in anyones identity and much of the book is based around the fact that the main characters, Reuven and Danny, are Jewish. In Danny's case religion changes the entire way he was raised, as his father puts it, "I did not want to drive my son away from God, but I did not want him to grow up a mind without a soul." (Potok pg.... [tags: Potok Chosen Essays]
543 words (1.6 pages)