"The Chosen" by Chaim Potok, and "The Giver" by Lois Lowry.

Essay by abadocious May 2003

download word file, 4 pages 4.5

Two young-adult novels -- The Chosen, by Chaim Potok, and The Giver, by Lois Lowry -- contain main characters who's lives are closely reflected to that of the other. These characters share similar feelings of frustration, and yet understanding towards their situations. Both characters were raised to respect the rules of their communities, however realize, through inner conflict, and a deeper understanding of self, that the only way to help not only themselves but their community is to break free from the traditions that hold them there.

In both novels, the characters are born into a community where certain rules have been set for them. in The Chosen, Danny, a Hasidic Jew, must follow the strict laws and traditions of his religion. For Danny, there is not much room for change or flexibility. Similarly, in The Giver everyone is assigned a specific role in the community. In Jonas' community, there are no true feelings -- no fear, no pain, no love.

Everything is under control. Through these similarities, the reader can see how certain expectations shape us, as they do the characters in the stories. Both Danny and Jonas struggle to accept their communities, along with their rules.

Danny and Jonas are given certain roles in their community, and with those roles come respect and a lot of responsibility. Danny's father is a Hasidic rabbi who is greatly respected in his synagogue. Being the oldest son, Danny is expected to continue the tradition, and take his father's place as rabbi. Danny resents his community role, and this becomes apparent when he sneaks to the library to study Freud. What he finds intrigues him. (insert quote) He is more interested in studying psychology than following in his father's footsteps which is something that causes a lot of conflict for...