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"The Chosen" - An Analysis Of The Development Of Relationship And Its Obstacles

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"When a trout rising to a fly gets hooked on a line and finds himself unable to swim about freely, he begins with a fight which results in struggles and splashes and sometimes an escape. Often, of course, the situation is too tough for him."


By developing a relationship between two people who come from completely distinct worlds, Chaim Potok was able to instigate and investigate a profound and deeply moving story of true friendship and the importance of father-son interconnection through self-realization in the work of The Chosen by explicitly introducing a series of challenges that question the morality and judgment of each protagonist. Through his masterpiece and by inserting complex situations, Chaim Potok took to his benefit to display the comparison between his characters and normal people - their similarities and differences.

All through the entire book, Chaim Potok attempted various endeavor in order to express the emphasis on developing his central characters, Reuven Malter and Danny Saunders. One of the main themes Chaim Potok tried to express in The Chosen is that true friendship plays a vital role in maintaining the welfare of any friends. To backbone his idea, Chaim Potok demonstrated several scenarios when Reuven and Danny are in difficult situations and ultimately have to sort out solutions before the problems could corrupt their relationship. Reuven Malter, son of a Modern Orthodox teacher, is smart, athletic and has a particular nick for mathematics. However, Reuven's desire is to become a rabbi of his own sect for he feels that he could " more useful to people as a rabbi...," ("The Chosen" 74) by doing things such as to "...teach them, and help them when they're in trouble..." ("The Chosen" 74) Danny Saunders, on the other hand, is the son of a Russian Hasidic rabbi leader, Reb Saunders. Due to this, Danny is given numerous privileges and recognition in his community and is well known throughout the area. Danny is an amazingly gifted student with a unique photographic memory, capable of understanding with depths several books in just a mere course of a week. Although he is the heir to his father's position as a Hasidic rabbi, Danny prefers to become nothing except a psychologist because it helps him "...understand what a person is really like inside..." ("The Chosen" 74) Taken from these simple, biographic facts, it is obvious that Reuven and Danny barely have anything in common with each other. In fact, because of these differences that Danny and Reuven have a rather difficult time trying to compromise, since each has his own definition and method of what should be done to resolve the problem.

Chaim Potok first developed Reuven and Danny's relationship at a softball game where Reuven is hit in the face by a softball thrown on purpose by Danny. In the hospital, Danny confesses that for unknown reason, he wants to kill Reuven during that game. Due to this, Reuven does not think they could ever be friends. However, twisted fate has them become the best of friends. Based on his words, it could be inferred that Danny, in fact, is jealous of Reuven's conventional and "radical" lifestyle because of his Hasidic Orthodox's strict tradition and teaching. By revealing each other's feeling and sharing their perspectives on several occasions, the two eventually become friends and come to understand their true desires in life.

"True happiness

Consists not in the multitude of friends, but in the worth and choice."


Despite the characters' efforts to stabilize their relationship in the midst of all the conflicts between their different sects and fathers' wishes, Chaim Potok challenged the two friends' connection when Reuven informs Reb Saunders about Danny's secular study in the library without his father's consent or acknowledgement. Immediately, Danny gets upset about Reuven's action and, in conjunction, questions his loyalty. Further complicating the situation, Reb Saunders orders Danny never to see or mention Reuven as long as Danny is still under his control. Such forbiddance causes both friends to experience troubling times, anguish and depression. In the end, both Danny and Reuven have to abandon their instinctive feelings in order to reach a solution, ridding themselves of the emotional burden caused by the differences between their fathers. These examples closely recreate the difficulties that ordinary human have to face daily: stress, secrets, worries and desires, etc. Using common language with easy-to-read grammar and vocabulary, Chaim Potok was able to ultimately reach out, touch and smoothly deliver his message to the audience from the inside. On the other hand, these resemblances appeal to readers by showing how resilient and pliant human can be, despite however complicated situation is.

Another important theme that can be seen throughout Chaim Potok's novel is the interconnection of family and how by revealing that power of love, hardships can be overcome. Both Danny and Reuven have extreme obedience to their fathers. Danny considers Reb Saunders to be a living god who is doing his best to help his community; such high loyalty in turn causes Danny to suffer isolation and depression since he does not have the mind to admit that his father is wrong. Reuven, similarly, views his father as a wise teacher who



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