The Chosen

An Exception to Tradition 10th Grade

“We can either emphasize those aspects of our traditions, religious or secular, that speak of hatred, exclusion, and suspicion or work with those that stress the interdependence and equality of all human beings. The choice is yours.” Karen Armstrong, the author of Twelve Steps to a Compassion Life, reminds us that blind adherence to tradition can prevent the equality of all human beings and delay the process of achieving true independence. In Chaim Potok’s novel The Chosen and Peter Stone and Sherman Edwards’s play 1776, Reb Saunders and John Dickinson grapple with the idea of defying tradition by granting Danny and The Thirteen Colonies the right to be independent; although both men are initially stubborn in their extremely illiberal positions, they eventually grant permission to their cherished possessions to emerge into a liberated world.

Having to continue his father’s legacy as a Hasidic tzaddik, Danny begins to resent his roots and search for freedom in the secular realm of literature. Confiding in his dear companion Reuven, Danny states, “It’s really funny. I have to be a rabbi and don’t want to be one. You don’t have to be a rabbi and do want to be one. It’s a crazy world” (Potok 87). Clinging to his tradition beliefs...

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