The Chosen: a Life Changing Friendship

The Chosen by Chaim Potok narrates about a not likely friendship between an Orthodox Jew, Reuven Malter, and Hasidic Jew, Danny Saunders. The story is narrated from Reuven's perspective. It starts with a baseball video game in which Danny and Reuven are using opposing teams. During the video game Danny hits a line drive to Reuven, and Reuven's eye is hurt. After this, Danny and Reuven get in into each other's different worlds and a deep friendship progresses. Their friendship essentially changes both of their lives.

The author utilizes strong character development and importance to demonstrate how a friendship in between 2 very different people can change their lives. Reuven and Danny are different in many methods. To both of them, religion is a lifestyle, but their method to their faith is not the exact same. Reuven is devout and prays with genuine empathy, evidently believing his prayers are heard. He and his daddy research study the Talmud in a sluggish, systematic way, using scientific criticism.

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Reuven desires to end up being a rabbi. Danny's technique to his faith is more mechanical.

He studies the Talmud because he has to. He and his dad's technique of studying the Talmud is by making points and arguing. Danny's future position as a 'tzaddik' is an offered. While Reuven is more personable and goes out with friends, Danny appears more withdrawn and holds himself apart from people. Each young boy establishes as a result of their relationship and eventually both of their lives alter. At the beginning of the story, Reuven dismisses Hasidism and those who practice it.

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He thinks Hasids are ignorant and self-righteous fanatics. He is important of what he does not understand.

As their not likely friendship begins and Reuven is thrust into Danny's world, his perception broadens. His eyes are opened and he realizes that things are not always the way they seem. "I do not comprehend it ... Weeks and weeks go by, one Shabbat follows another, and I'm the exact same, nothing has changed, and unexpectedly one day something takes place, and whatever looks different." (Potok pg. 114) Although he does not change his practice of religious beliefs, he becomes more accepting of individuals who are various from him. As part of his development as a person, Reuven learns what it means to be a true good friend.

Danny’s life in the beginning of the book is completely different from Reuven’s. His life has already been planned out for him. He has no friends and feels trapped by the expectations of his father. From his friendship with Reuven, his world begins to open up. Danny has begun to read books that contradict what he has been taught and he starts to think of ideas beyond his religion. Danny can confide in Reuven and talk to him about the future, his desires, and his thoughts. “I want to be able to breathe, to think what I want to think, to say the things the I want to say.

I’m trapped now… My mind cries to get out of it, but I can’t. Not now. One day I will, though. I’ll want you around on that day, friend. ”(Potok pg. 202) Ultimately, because of his friendship with Reuven, Danny has the courage to go against his father’s wishes for his life and become what he wants to be. Danny and Reuven’s relationship show both of them that they can move beyond their present way of thinking. The author uses symbolism to show how the friendship between Danny and Reuven changed their lives. A dominant symbol in The Chosen is eyes.

The eyes symbolize seeing. It emphasizes perception of oneself and the world in a literal as well as a symbolic sense. The symbolism begins when Danny injures Reuven’s eye in a baseball game. Reuven’s eye is literally injured and the renewal of his eyesight represents a whole new world opening up for him. When Reuven comes home from the hospital after befriending Danny, his house seems unusual, and he views things in a different way. “I have never really paid any attention to it before. Now it seemed suddenly luminous and alive. (Potok pg. 99) Danny’s eyes are symbolic as well. Through a large portion of the book, Danny is constantly blinking his eyes, and his eyes are described as tired or sad. This represents his inner turmoil. Once things are resolved and Danny is free to make his way in the world, his eyes are different. “But there was a light in his eyes that was almost blinding. ” (Potok pg. 283) The symbolism of the eyes plays a large role in The Chosen and helps demonstrate the change that occurs in the boys’ lives from their friendship.

Chaim Potok’s The Chosen describes a friendship between two very different boys. The author uses strong character development and symbolism to show how a friendship between two dissimilar people can alter their lives. By describing the characters’ development throughout the story, the author shows how Reuven and Danny are impacted by their friendship. The symbol of the eye illustrates how the boys’ perception was expanded and their world was changed. As a result of these techniques, the author creates a story of a life changing friendship.

Updated: Jul 07, 2022
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The Chosen: a Life Changing Friendship. (2016, Sep 09). Retrieved from

The Chosen: a Life Changing Friendship essay
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