The Chosen

Topics: God, Judaism, Religion Pages: 1 (341 words) Published: February 17, 2014
The Chosen Parallels
In the novel The Chosen by Chaim Potok, the use of parallelism is evident throughout the entire book. Potok uses these relationships to compliment and develop every single idea and feeling in the book. Because The Chosen is a bildungsroman, parallels play a key role in the growth of the protagonists, Danny Saunders and Reuven Malter. The major parallels are the secular and the religious, illness and mortality, the fathers, and Danny and Reuven.

The parallel between the secular and the religious is the main conflict in the novel. The friendship between Reuven and Danny is an example of this contrasting parallel. Reuven has more flexible religious customs and Danny comes from a strict Hasidic background. This struggle also happens to Danny internally, who has to choose between a life of unreligious views studying psychology, and a life devoted only to being a Hasidic tzaddik. The religious symbolizes history and tradition, and the secular symbolizes modernism and societal progression. Potok developed this theme to question Judaism’s place in the modern world, because its believers are torn between their faith and worldly beliefs.

The characters’ mortality and illnesses are reminded by the religion in the novel, and are complementary parallels. Serious illnesses are apparent throughout the whole book. Characters suffer from vision problems, heart attacks, and blood disorders. David Malter, Reuven’s father, has a heart attack that forces him to confront his own mortality, forcing Reuven to confront it as well. Each character has a turn with facing illness or mortality, emphasizing the overall theme of the relationship between people and God.

David Malter and Reb Saunders parallel each other in an interesting way. Their paternal relationships with their sons dominate the novel. Potok stresses that there are a multitude of ways to raise a child, like Reb’s strict upbringing of Danny and David’s open nurturing of Reuven. He also emphasizes...
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