The Chosen

Overcoming Darkness

"All the darkness in the world could not put out the light of one small candle."

These words from the headstone of a Jewish holocaust victim perfectly define Chaim Potok's use of light as a symbol of knowledge and truth in a world of tradition. Potok uses Reuven's observations of light to give the reader clues of Danny's awakenings to the truth and knowledge of the outside world in The Chosen. Danny's surroundings particularly show the lack of acceptance toward society and the feelings of his family, friends and himself toward the outside world. Light also helps demonstrate the growth and maturity Danny gains during the novel. Finally, it also shows his constant struggle with the importance of religion versus knowledge in his life. Danny has a brilliant mind, and finding a way to integrate the supreme emphasis his family places on their hasidic religion with his ravenous hunger for knowledge, is a battle he fights throughout the book. Whether or not he wins this battle is entirely up to the judgement of the reader, but Potok expresses his opinion by using the constant theme of light.

Light comes into play primarily while Potok describes the surroundings of the characters. He shows how secluded...

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