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Book Review - the Chosen by Chaim Potok

Essay by   •  June 2, 2011  •  Book/Movie Report  •  903 Words (4 Pages)  •  2,001 Views

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For boys growing up, it is easy to see the importance of the father in the father-son relationship and how the interactions between the two affect the son as he grows up. In the book, The Chosen, by Chaim Potok, the character Danny is heavily influenced by his father, Reb Saunders, who is the Tzadik or spiritual leader for their Hasidic Jewish sect. As the first son, Danny has been raised to take on the position of his father after he dies and be the new leader of their sect. Danny realizes, however, that he has no interest in fulfilling his father's position and struggles throughout the novel to make his father aware of this. Like Danny, Neal, from the film The Dead Poets Society also has a similar problem with his father. Neal's dad has planned for Neal to go to medical school, however Neal's true passion lies with acting. He struggles throughout the film to let his father know how he feels about acting and his desire to pursuit acting rather than something in the medical field. While there are many similarities between Danny and Neal's relationships with their fathers; there are many differences too. There are differences in the issues that arise from each relationship and a big difference in how they are finally resolved at the end of the book and film.

When looking at the relationship between the two boys and their fathers, it is important to look at the interactions between the boys and their fathers. In other words, look at how both Neal and Danny's fathers treated their sons and how they interacted with them. In The Chosen, Danny's father raises him according to tradition and how the Tzadik's son is raised. His father raises him with a complete silence and barely ever holds a conversation with him or talks to him except when they study the Talmud. Danny doesn't like the silence that exists between his father and him. He feels that this silence makes it even harder to talk to his father about the fact that he has no interest in taking his position as Tzadik. While Neal's father doesn't use silence with Neal; he is very authoritative in the relationship. He treats Neal as if he is too foolish to make decisions and feels that he needs to make all of Neal's decisions for him. Both Neal and Danny have strained relationships with their fathers; Danny rarely talks with his father while Neal's father attempts to have complete control over them. Both relationships have issues that develop later on in each story as both of the characters develop independently.

As Danny becomes more certain of the fact that he has no interest in becoming Tzadik, he starts to stray further away from studying the Talmud and engaging in other religious activities. He spends more time at the library studying Freud and learning about psychology. This is an issue because he feels he must hide it from his father. Danny has to hide it since they are not on speaking terms. He can't talk to him



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