Human Nature Exposed in Chaim Potok's The Chosen

Human Nature Exposed in Chaim Potok's The Chosen

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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.  Surgery is needed on Reuven's eye, and the future use of his

eye is in doubt.  To most this might appear a bad situation, a terrible thing to

happen to a boy, but Reuven and Danny are brought together by this unfortunate

incident and develop a strong and rewarding friendship.  This friendship of

course has its ups and downs, but overall proves to be an invaluable learning

experience to both young men.


      Danny is forced to endure an awkward and possibly cruel situation for

the majority of his formative years.  Danny's father never speaks with him.

With the exception of Talmud discussions and Danny's baseball team idea, Danny

and his father never speak.  This situation causes Danny a great deal of

emotional pain, a pain which he is unable to comprehend his father's reasons for

inflicting.  His father feared, and with reason, that if something were not done,

Danny would never find his soul.  After many years, Danny finally understands,

and accepts the reasons for his father's silence, and is in many ways grateful

for its success.


      History is rich with individual, and broad examples of Potok's look into

human nature.  During the Second World War, America suffered approximately four

hundred thousand casualties, yet reached a state of national unity that has not

been achieved before or after.  The war also ended the Great Depression that

caused so many people, son many problems.  The atomic bombs dropped on the

Japanese cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki reaped considerable death and

destruction, yet prevented far more.  Even as far back as biblical times, the

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