Essay The Chosen

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The Chosen

The Chosen, a fiction novel written in 1967 by Chaim Potok, is about two young Jewish boys and their friendship. It takes us along with them on their journey from adolescence to adulthood. They face many conflicts, and through those trials the author makes his readers think more deeply into life’s true meanings.

The novel was set in New York during the Second World War. Since the main characters are Jews, this period of time is very significant. Not only were the Jews persecuted during WWII, but New York was also close to a military base, which made it a prime target for bombing. Even the setting has an underlying sense of tension. One of the protagonists in The Chosen is Reuven Malter. Reuven is an orthodox
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Mr. Malter is a journalist. Weak and often ill, he is a Zionist proud of his religion and heritage. He provides Danny with a worldview giving him the opportunity to expand his mind and broaden his viewpoint. He also gives Reuven self-confidence and the ability to make his own decisions. He supports Reuven, helps him through hard times, and shares insights with him. “A man must fill his life with meaning, meaning is not automatically given to life. It is hard work to fill one’s life with meaning,” Mr. Malter once said to his son.

Reuven acts as a buffer between Reb and Danny Saunders. Since Reb feels he can't talk to Danny in order to raise him properly, he talks to Reuven about Danny. They talk to each other through Reuven. Reuven is also a very supportive and encouraging friend to Danny. He gives him advice and is willing to listen to Danny's problems.

In this predominately Jewish setting, Billy Merrit and Tony Savo give Reuven a window into the outside world. Reuven learned about Gentile culture when with them. They serve an important role in the novel by teaching Reuven that suffering is universal and life isn't always fair. It really awakened him to new ideas.

Each of the main characters have obvious flaws. Danny has a good mind, but no soul. He is brilliant, but he unable to relate to people. Reuven is very bright and relates well to people, but he finds forgiveness difficult in

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