Silence can be like the wind. You can feel it when it’s present and at times it goes by unnoticed. In Chaim Potok’s novel, The Chosen, silence is explored in characters and how it affects them. The character relationships used to show this symbol are between Reuven and David Malter, Danny and Reuven, and Reb Saunders and Danny. In The Chosen, silence can play the role of a teacher, a barrier, and a way of communication.
First, Reuven and Mr. Malter experience a silence in their relationship. When Mr. Malter refuses to explain to Reuven why Reb Saunders has raised Danny in silence, he imposes a silence with Reuven. While they usually have open communication, this creates a block between them. Towards the end of the novel, Mr. Malter says, “A father can bring up a child any way he wishes. . . What a price to pay for a soul.” (Potok, 244) Even though Mr. Malter doesn’t agree with Reb Saunders’ form of parenting, he understands it. With Reuven being unaware of the reason for silence, it creates a type of barrier between him and Mr. Malter.
A silence is also created between Danny and Reuven. Because of the anti-Zionist views that Reb Saunders has, he forbids Danny to talk to Reuven, causing a silence that lasts for two years. However, despite not being able to speak, they find a way to communicate with looks and touches. Reuven explains it this way, “The look on Danny’s face . . . helped a little . . . he brushed up against me and managed to touch my hand for a second. His touch and his eyes spoke the words that his lips couldn’t.” (Potok, 228) The silence forced between Danny and Reuven creates a barrier, but they are still able to find a way to communicate.
Lastly, Reb Saunders raises Danny with silence most of his life. Reb Saunders raises Danny this way partly because it’s how he was raised, and it’s the only way he knew how. Also, because Danny is being trained to become a rabbi, Reb Saunders needed to teach his son compassion for others. Reb...