Literary Criticism on the Chosen

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In The Chosen, Potok describes the Jewish culture during the period of World War I. Beginning with the affluence of Polish Jews before the war, Potok established a circle of relationships. In the book, there are three main relationships. The first one is father-son, between Danny and his father, Reb Saunders and between Reuven and his father, David Malter. The relationship between Reuven and Danny is the second main relationship in The Chosen. The third main relationship is Hasidism verses Zionism.

The relationship between the two fathers and the two sons is a very important theme in this book. Because of their different backgrounds, Reb Saunders and David Malters approached raising a child from two totally different perspectives. Despite the obvious differences in the two men's beliefs, both did what they thought was right for their sons. Reb Saunders was a Hasidic tzaddik and wanted his son to follow in his footsteps. He raised Danny in silence, hoping to teach him to listen to silence, to learn compassion, and to develop a soul to go with his mind. Unless it had to do with religious studies, Reb never had an actual conversation with Danny after the age of 3. Reb wanted Danny to find things out for himself. On the other hand, Reuven's father, Mr. Malters, felt it very important that he had good and frequent communication between himself and his son. The two would sometimes talk for hours about life, different religions, friends and anything else Reuven would want to talk about. Mr. Malters wanted Reuven to be able to come to him with any questions. Danny didn't have a close relationship with his father, which explained his dependency on Reuven. Even though Reb Saunders and Mr. Malters raised their sons in totally different ways, they did it all out of love and felt that what they were doing was the right thing.

The relationship between Danny and Reuven is a very big theme in The Chosen. Danny and Reuven are two boys who have grew up within a...
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