Silence In The Chosen

Words: 1323
Pages: 6

In The Chosen, Chaim Potok introduces two characters Danny Saunders and Reuven Malter, who are two complementary and contrasting characters. While the two boys' individual situations contrast each other, they are also similar. Both the boys' fathers have picked out their future for them. Both boys have to choose religion or education. Danny wants to become a psychologist, but his father prefers him would become a rabbi as well as a leader of their Hasidic community. Reuven wants to become a rabbi, but his father would rather him focus on his education and become a mathematician. The two main characters in The Chosen represent the need for individualism.
Chaim Potok demonstrates a conflict in The Chosen, dealing with Religion and Education.
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The Rabbi Isaac Saunders, also referred to as Reb, tries to discipline Danny by introducing him to silence. The two characters demonstrate that silence can play many roles in one's life, such as a teacher. For Rabbi Isaac Saunders that is the only way to teach his son "My father never talked to me, except when we studied together. He taught me with silence." (Potok, 265). Danny and his father do not speak to each other directly. Throughout the book, Reb decides to use Reuven as a method of speaking to his son. "He has talked to Danny through you" (Potok, 169). Reuven's father noticed how he was talking to Danny through Reuven. Reuven his shows how Reb could not physically talk or conversate with his own son. Reuven was the voice to Danny and he played an important role. Silence also helps to teach Danny and Reuven methods of communication. "I glanced at him and saw his mouth had fallen slightly open," the two boys give each other certain glances as a way of communicating their feelings as well as looking for approval (Potok, 235). "Silence was ugly, it was black, it leered, it was cancerous and it was death," (Potok, 235). Reuven did not like silence at all and when it happened to him and Danny he could not think right. This demonstrates how important Danny was to Reuven and how he did not want to live with …show more content…
The irony represented in the book is the two boys' desired occupation. The irony there is situational, because they are expected to become something that their fathers want them to be. Ironically they want an occupation that is opposing to what their fathers expect. The two boys' fathers have chosen their future career that they must take. The boys, however, have chosen different career paths. Danny's preferred career is opposing to what his Hasidic Jew religion. Danny wants to be a psychologist, which helps people with mental or emotional problems. In the religion one must pray to god to solve ones' problem, which contradicts Danny's desired career. The major irony in this book would be how Reuven and Danny's friendship stated from the root of hate. "I found myself hating him again and all the other side-curled fringe wears on his yeshiva team," (Potok, 35). Reuven and Danny started out as hating each other and even wanting to kill each other, "I do not understand why I wanted to kill you," (Potok, 66). As soon as the boys get to know each other well, they realize that they can become great friends, which lead to the boy's finding their individualism within each other. What is ironic is how Danny's father prohibited his son and Reuven to remain friends, which leads them to acting like strangers to each other. They later decide that they want to remain friends but Reuven still holds a grudge