Silence In Beni Halmos's The Chosen

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How The Chosen focuses on silence By Beni Halmos
In 1967, the American Jewish writer and Rabbi Chaim Potok released his book, named The Chosen. It is a book set over a course of 6 years in Brooklyn in the 1940’s, and is about two Jewish boys with different cultural background and their friendship. The two boys, Reuven and Danny, only get to know each other because of an accident during baseball, despite living 5 blocks from each other for the past 15 years of their lives. Throughout the book, the two get a taste of each other’s culture, and their friendship gets tested multiple times due to the tension rising as their culture collides with each other. Apart on focusing on their friendship and culture, The Chosen talks about the importance
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For starters, Danny is raised in silence by his father, who is the leader of the Hasidic Jews, and expects Danny to be his heir. This is a major theme in the book, as Reuven, who talks freely with this father, does not understand how Danny can live when his father only talks to him when they are studying the Talmud. Later in the novel, Danny explains to Reuven how he could live with the silence and how it helped him understand his religion better. He says:
“[My father] taught me with silence . . . to look into myself, to find my own strength, to walk around inside myself in company with my soul. . . . One learns of the pain of others by suffering one’s own pain … by turning inside oneself. . . . It makes us aware of how frail and tiny we are and of how much we must depend upon the Master of the Universe.” [Potok, p 268- 269]
By the end of the book, Danny finds out how his father used this silence to effectively prepare him for taking over the role of his father. Saunders hopes that by turning Danny inwards, he makes Danny care less about himself and more about the world and the people around him. Even though Reuven and his father Mr. Malter are still sceptical whether it is worth all those years of pain for Danny, he accepts this as his father’s way of loving and teaching him, and is not angry for all those years of silence between them, or between him and
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It stopped in swift waves, beginning at the rear of the synagogue and ending at the chairs near the podium. I heard no signal and no call for silence; it simply stopped cut off as if a door had slammed shut on a playroom filled with children. The silence that followed had a strange quality to it: expectation, eagerness, love, awe.”
[Potok, p 116, 117]
The Chosen focuses so much on how it describes silence and noise, it digs into the reader’s subconscious, indirectly changing the readers’ perspective on how silence can be interpreted.
Consequently of all this, The Chosen is a book that focuses on a lot of themes, themes which were quiet a hot topic back in the day when it was released. But the most important theme is the focus on silence: silence forms the way the characters behave and communicate with each other, as well as that silence has a totally different meaning in The Chosen as in most other books. With it, it changes our perspective as well. In the end, The Chosen uses silence as the main way to tell a story about friendship and orthodox religion mixed with

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