The Chosen- Silence

Topics: Chaim Potok, Suffering, Controversy Pages: 2 (464 words) Published: August 29, 2011
Caitlin Park
English 10H Summer Reading
The Chosen
Symbol: Silence

Silence serves as a symbol, signifying many things in The Chosen, by Chaim Potok. Throughout the book, Reb Saunders rarely converses with his Danny unless it is about Talmud or their religion. In chapter 18, he says that he did this to teach his son to understand and feel pain and suffering. In addition, he does this because this was the way he was raised by his own father. Reb Saunders wanted his son to grow up with the soul of a tzaddik so that he may be able to feel the suffering all over the world. Nevertheless, it is disputed whether or not Reb Saunders’ method was completely successful because Danny does not seem any more compassionate than Reuven. Also, when Reb Saunders imposed silence upon his family, Danny reluctantly hid things from his father, including his dream of becoming a psychologist instead of a tzaddik. However, at the end of the novel, when Mr. Malter asks him if he will raise his children in silence, he replies that he will if there is no other ways. This shows that Danny does not abhor the way he was raised, but he acknowledges that there are better approaches.

On the other hand, David and Reuven Malter strongly disagrees with Reb Saunders. Mr. Malter is very open minded and loves to speak what’s on his mind. As a result, they are able to discuss and share information that perhaps Reb Saunders would not with Danny. Both Reuven and his father don’t understand Reb Saunder’s use of silence.

Reuven, being non-Hasidic, dislikes and doesn’t understand the way Reb Saunders never talks to Danny. He thinks they are unable to build a strong father-son relationship and are incapable of carrying a normal conversation with each other. Although Reuven hates Reb Saunder’s use of silence, he mimicks the technique. He neglects Reb Saunders because he prevented Danny from seeing or talking to Danny for such a long time. Reuven uses silence to portray his hatred and...
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