The Chosen by Chaim Potok

March 8, 2011
By Alisabeth BRONZE, Phoenix, Arizona
Alisabeth BRONZE, Phoenix, Arizona
1 article 0 photos 0 comments

Chaim Potok, in his 1967 novel The Chosen, explores a unique way of how to young boys become friends when one hits the other in the eye with a baseball. Moreover, Chaim Potok also navigates through these two boys lives, and how their fathers raise them. Reuven Malter, a Secular Orthodox Jew, is the son to a brilliant Zionist; however, Danny Saunders, the other main character and a Hasidic Jew, is the son to a Hasidic Rabbi. These two unlike boys form an unusual friendship. In addition, because these two boy’s fathers study, teach, and are just different, it is somewhat forbidden for them to be friends, but in the end after apologies and forgiveness Reuven and Danny become best friends. Since they are best friends they spend as much time as they could together. Reuven would go to Danny’s house and study Talmud with Danny and his father; in contrast, Danny did not spend that much time at Reuven’s house. With all the memorable moments, hidden secrets, and combined intelligence; these two boys are truly best friends.
Reuven was raised like any other Zionist Jew. He would study the Talmud, pray on Shabbat, and go to a yeshiva in which his father taught. His household consisted of his father, their maid, and himself; his mother passed away when he was young. Reuven was an intelligent boy, who did well in school, had many friends, and had a healthy relationship with his intellectual father. Danny on the other hand, was raised as a Hasidic Jew. He had his own ways of studying Talmud, praying, dressing, and a certain yeshiva in which he attended. He has a brother, sister, mother, and father. Danny was different; he had a unique way of thinking, for that reason his father raised him differently then any of his other children. Ever since Danny was old enough to remember his father had not been talking to him; thus, his father was raising his son in silence. Danny’s father thought that with silence between them Danny had “…suffered and learned to listen to the sufferings of others” (280.) Danny and Reuven were raised and lived in two extremely different ways.
Chaim Potok does an amazing job in describing how two different but similar boys become friends. He describes with warmth and sadness the relationship between fathers and sons in a phenomenal way. He creates insight into Danny and Reuven’s lives; making the reader want to keep reading. The message Potok is portraying in this novel is marvelous and unexpected, yet in the end the reader can understand what Potok is trying to characterize. All in all, Potok does a wonderful job in his compelling novel The Chosen.

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