The Theme Of Like Father In The Chosen By Chaim Potok

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“Like father, like son” is a common statement in English, and it means that the son, or child, is like their father. In The Chosen by Chaim Potok, a novel about relationships, coming of age, and discovery of one’s future, readers see this statement play out. In the beginning of the book, readers are introduced to Reuven Malter, a son of a rabbi, who plays baseball. His team is about to play a game against the more traditional hasidic Jewish sect lead by Danny Saunders. Although Danny and Reuven’s relationship starts with rivalry, they soon become fast friends. What is perhaps more interesting, though, is how Danny and Reuven’s fathers, David Malter and Reb Saunders interact with their sons. Later in the book, this also develops into how David …show more content…
Reb is a tall man, and he has a face “cut from stone” (p. 125). He is strong willed, but Danny, his son, calls him a great man. Reb is a “bridge between his followers and God” (p. 119), and as a Tzaddik, has almost complete control over his followers. Danny is also tall, and almost an exact replica of his father. He is brilliant, and he wants to be a psychologist when he is old enough. However, Danny and Reb’s relationship is often strained. While Danny wants to honor his father, he also wants chose his own future. In their relationship, readers can see how Reb’s way of raising Danny influenced who Danny became. When Danny tells Reuven about this, he says his father said to “close my mouth and look into my soul. He told me to stop running to him every time I had a problem” (p. 168). This type of silent upbringing has a big impact on Danny. Danny tends to internalize things and keep things to himself. For example, Danny feels forced by his father to take over the synagogue. Danny dreams of being a psychologist. He will not- or as he says to Reuven- cannot tell his father about not wanting to take over the synagogue for fear of his father’s reaction. He is afraid of his father, and though he respects his father, he cannot approach his father for personal problems. Danny also tends to speak sharply and judgmentally. One example of this is when he and Reuven are walking home from Danny’s synagogue one night. Danny and Reuven are discussing how Reuven told Reb about Danny reading non-jewish books in the library. Reuven suggests that Danny talk to his father, and Danny responds explosively that he cannot talk to his father. The narrator, who is Reuven says that Danny said angrily “I can’t explain it to you any better than I have”(p. 169). The quick temper and harsh words that Danny shows are on one example of how his silent and strained relationship

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