The Chosen

Essay by vercrex7High School, 12th grade October 2014

download word file, 6 pages 0.0

Downloaded 2 times


"Beyond this universality of the symbolic language, we are apprised of the divineness of this superior use of things, whereby the world is a temple, whose walls are covered with emblems, pictures and commandments of the Deity … small and mean things serve as well as great symbols."

~Ralph Waldo Emerson


Eric Bowden

February 19, 2002

The use of symbolism as a rhetorical device is a staple in many great works of literature. Chaim Potok does not deviate from this saying, and, in truth, uses symbolism in diverse and meaningful ways in his novel The Chosen. For instance, Potok creates layers of meaning by positioning Danny and Reuven's homes in areas that are separate but symbolically connected by a single street. Another example of symbolism would be Potok's treatment of light. Finally, Potok uses eyes and perception in symbolically significant ways.

From these few, but good, examples one can see that pockets of symbolism permeate the novel The Chosen.

First of all, the living location of Reuven and Danny is integral to the symbolism of their lives. They live on separate streets of no consequence that both adjoin to a street called Lee Avenue (which is of consequence). This may be seen as a bridge, with Danny and Reuven's streets acting as the supports and Lee Avenue as the traversal. The name of the street also lends itself to being a symbol, since "lee" is defined as the side sheltered against the winds. This shelter is possibly the only way these two people could have met due to the circumstance of their baseball competition.

The second occurrence of symbolism presents itself in the author's use of light. There are two major occasions when he uses light, one being...