The Chosen by Chaim Potok: Exploring the Relationship between Rueven and Danny

Essay by heathermarie116High School, 10th gradeA-, April 2004

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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.