The Chosen By Chaim Potok: Exploring The Relationship Between Rueven And Danny

1047 words - 4 pages

Danny and Reuven's many similarities such as their intelligence, religion, and love of learning bring them to become friends, while their differences in culture allow them to learn from each other. It is in this way that Reuven and Danny's strengths complement each other's weaknesses. Both the boys support each other by sharing their knowledge of the world, which is perceived differently because of their two very unlike types of Judaism. The experiences they share with each other, such as Danny's upbringing through silence by his father and Reuven's experience with near-blindness, broaden the horizons of one another. Reuven's skill as a listener helps Danny cope with things, and Danny's large array of interests, such as studying German, Freud, and Psychoanalysis, assists Reuven in broadening his limited perspective on the world. They also affect one another in less profound ways; for instance Reuven's abilities in mathematics help what Danny lacks. Both learn to see life differently and much more openly with their new found knowledge from each other. Reuven's near-blindness makes him truly value the small things in life and become a better listener and observer. He shares these traits with Danny. Danny was "ready to rebel [against his religion and his father's silence]" before he and Rueven became friends, but Reuven taught him restraint and to listen with a more rational ear to the world in order to get a more balanced sense of himself and his Hasidic religion. For example, one day while reading in the library, Danny mentions a critical book he was reading about Hasidism and says, "I never knew about any of these things. What an image it gives me of myself." Reuven rebukes saying, "Maybe Graetz is only talking about the Hasidism of his own day. You ought to discuss it with my father." In this way Reuven helps to show Danny that there are more sides to a story than one might think at first, all he has to do is look deeper, listen to the signals, and not be so critical of himself and his faith. By doing this Reuven provides a more rational outlook for Danny to take hold of in his everyday life. Danny finally understands this outlook on life when he hears his father say, "[My father] taught me with silence...to look into myself, to find my own strength to walk around inside myself in company with my soul. My Daniel understands it now, he understands it well." And Danny did understand, thanks to the help from his friend Reuven who helped teach him to actually listen to the silence he was raised with and look at the good parts of it rather than the bad and actually appreciate the rarely spoken words. With his new capability of listening, Danny was able to come to peace with himself and his father for the silence he was put through in all his years. Danny being a Hasid, one might think that he has a view of the world restricted by his religious beliefs; however, because of his silent...

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