The Chosen by Chaim Potok1 Essay

This essay has a total of 1146 words and 5 pages.


The Chosen by Chaim Potok1





The Chosen


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 doesn't allow him to reach his full potential, because he feels it is best for Danny.
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