Devotion In Chaim Potok's The Chosen

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What does true devotion look like? In today's world, people commonly tell children to "never give up" and "always believe anything is possible." Everyone would like to think that they consistently devote themselves to a cause they believe in, but few actually achieve that level of devotion. In Chaim Potok's The Chosen, Danny, Reb Saunders, and Mr. Malter all demonstrate a deep devotion to a particular goal or cause. These three characters exhibit what personal belief means and what it entails. They experience different circumstances and struggles, but when all else is stripped away, each character remains committed to a worthy cause.

Danny Saunders demonstrates dedication and devotion to a personal goal. His ambition to read Sigmund Freud's writings becomes so strong that his initial failure discourages him greatly. During this period, the book describes Danny as "angry and disgusted, his face a picture of bewildered frustration" (169). However, despite his shortcomings, Danny perseveres and finally breaks through. He discovers that he must study Freud the same way he studies the
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Malter, Reuven's father, exemplifies devotion to a political cause he believes in. After receiving news about the Holocaust, Mr. Malter becomes deeply troubled and worried about the state of the Jewish people. He spends large amounts of time researching the topic and searching for solutions to the ongoing problem. Reuven notices that his father, even while confined to a hospital bed, "talked of nothing else but European Jewry and the responsibility American Jews now carried" (185). After being released, Mr. Malter goes even further, attending Zionist rallies and teaching a class about political Zionism. He sacrifices his own health for the sake of promoting Zionism, exclaiming that he must leave a legacy behind and his life must mean something. Mr. Malter is a fighter; he remains devoted in the face of serious trials and sacrifices nearly everything for the sake of his
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