Silence In “The Chosen”
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Silence in “The Chosen”
In the book “The Chosen” by Chaim Potok, there are many situations where silence between characters is present. Some characters, such as Reuven and David Malter, believe that this deprivation is a cruel and inexplicable way of raising a child. On the other hand, Reb Saunders, a Jewish Hasidic leader, raises his oldest son in silence to prepare him for his future as a Rabbi. Silence is a driving force to understand and learn about other characters and the world around them.
The four main characters have different beliefs on how children should be raised. Danny Saunders was raised in silence. Communication was cut off between Danny and his father, except when they were studying the Talmud. This way of parenting was to teach Danny how to think through things for himself. Rabbi Saunders also wanted Danny to grow up in the same manner he was raised.
Rabbi Saunders tries to raise Danny this way to help him lead his fathers followers and mature. With this technique, Danny will produce a strong persona to handle all the pressures of being an influential Rabbi and mentor. Rabbi Saunders believes that only speaking to his son through the Talmud will develop his sons soul. This will improve Dannys ability to understand himself and create a greater sense of empathy and the world around him. Danny was always thought to be destined for great things because of his photographic memory and desire for learning. With this knowledge, it is understandable to raise a child the way Rabbi Saunders did. All he wants is that his son will become a great man and leader like he was and his ancestors were.
In the beginning of their friendship, Reuven does not like the silence that passes between him and Danny. Reuven was raised with an outgoing father who loves to speak his mind both through writing and talking. Mr. Malter talks to Danny and supplies him with knowledge that Rabbi Saunders would probably not approve of. Mr. Malter helps Danny discover more about the world than just the Talmud or of Jewish culture and Danny is grateful and interested. Reuven and his father wonder why a person would raise their children this way and may even believe this technique of parenting may be wrong and cruel.
Silence can be a good way to learn about others and ourselves, but at the same time, it may bring uncomfortable and awkward feelings. Reuven will never be able to find the comfort in silence, nor find its relation to gain knowledge about the world