The Chosen : Character Compare and Contrast

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Caroline Perryman 9-15-11 Essay The Chosen: Compare and Contrast Summer Reading The Chosen, written by Chaim Potok, follows two young boys growing up in New York together in the 1940s. Reuven Malter is the narrator of the story and one of the novel’s two main characters. He and his family are traditional orthodox Jews. Danny Saunders, the other main character, is a brilliant Hasid who has a photographic memory and an interest in psychoanalysis. In eighteen chapters, the novel tells the story of the friendship that develops between the two boys. It also examines the tensions that arise during the death of President Roosevelt, the end of World War II, the revelation of the Holocaust in Europe, and the struggle for the creation of the state of Israel. Reuven Malter is the narrator of the chosen, and begins the story much like Danny, as a fifteen year old boy living in Brooklyn New York. But he is from a far less orthodox religious background than Danny and attends a more secular yeshiva. They become friends with each other after Danny nearly blinds him during a softball game. He also serves as a line of communication between Danny and his father, who doesn’t speak to Danny much, only when they discuss the Talmud. Although Reuven and Danny become friends, Reuven doesn’t like his father because of his harsh treatment of Danny. Furthermore, he commands that Danny be forbidden to have any connection with Reuven because of his Zionist views. Danny Saunders is a fifteen year old Hasidic boy going to a different school than Reuven. He is the son of the tzaddik Reb Saunders and therefore certain to follow in his father's footsteps as the leader of his Hasidic sect. Despite the obvious conflict between the irreligious doctrines of Freudianism and his Hasidic belief, he still aspires to study in psychology. After injuring Reuven Malter at the softball game, Danny Saunders

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