# Explain (in detail) Reb Saunders" code of silence and how it related to Danny?

a) when it began

b) why was it imposed

c) what Reb Saunders hoped to accomplish through using silence

d) why it was important that Danny was raised in Silence

The Roles of Silence in the Chosen

Summary: Silence is like the wind. Sometimes you feel it, rushing through your hair and causing goose bumps on your arms and legs, while other times it goes by unnoticed, filling your lungs unfailingly. It can be awkward, reassuring, or exhilarating. In the novel, "The Chosen", Reuven, Danny, and Reb Saunders show us that silence can play many roles in life, specifically as teacher, creator, and barrier.

Silence is like the wind. Sometimes you feel it, rushing through your hair and causing goose bumps on your arms and legs, while other times it goes by unnoticed, filling your lungs unfailingly. It can be awkward, reassuring, or exhilarating. In the novel, "The Chosen", Reuven, Danny, and Reb Saunders show us that silence can play many roles in life, specifically as teacher, creator, and barrier.

Silence acting as a teacher is a hard concept to comprehend, but Reb Saunders understands it well, partly because it's the only way he knows to teach his son, Danny. Reb tells us how he was brought up, which was in silence, as well: "My father never talked to me, except when we studied together. He taught me with silence." (Potok, 265).We can tell Reb is a compassionate person because he wants Danny to have a soul, to feel for people. He is speaking of Danny when he says, ."..How will I teach this mind what it is to have a soul"" (Potok, 265). Because of Reb's love for Danny, we can see that Reb's father's silence technique has worked in teaching Reb. When Reb decides that Reuven and Mr. Malter aren't allowed to speak or come into contact with the Saunders family, silence teaches Danny and Reuven that you can communicate without actually speaking. In the section where Reuven is explaining a certain difficult section of the Talmud, we notice Danny and Reuven exchanging glances, communicating their feelings, and Reuven looking to Danny for approval: "I glanced at him and saw his mouth had fallen slightly open." (Potok, 235). Silence passes around all of the characters in this book and teaches them things they don't know they're learning, just like the wind blows around leaves and reminds them not to land in your yard.

Silence created Danny and Reuven's relationship. Had not Reb Saunders raised Danny in silence, he may not have been looking for a friend, or may not have thrown the ball at Reuven. Danny is up in Reuven's hospital room when he tells him, "Do you know what I don't understand about that ball game? I don't understand why I wanted to kill you." (Potok, 66). While Danny doesn't understand, we can conclude that because of the silence Danny's father places between them, Danny has pent up anger or resentment towards him that caused him to throw the ball at Reuven in such a manner. Silence also created Danny's compassion. We know Danny has compassion because when he is up in Danny's hospital room the first time, he apologizes: "Before you tell me how much you hate me,' he said quietly, let me tell you that I'm sorry about what happened.'" (Potok, 62). Reuven does not exactly want to accept Danny's apology, but when Mr. Malter comes up to visit Reuven's hospital room, he tells Reuven that he should accept the apology because Danny was being sincere. Because of silence, Danny and his father have the relationship that we see start to show through near the end of the book. If Danny's father hadn't raised him in silence, they probably would have had a great relationship, but not the connection they had after being so close to one another yet not being able to speak to each other for ages. We see this relationship bloom when Reb Saunders says, "Today my Daniel is free..." (Potok, 268). This is where Reb Saunders finally let Danny go and gives him to the world outside of their religion. How these characters come to know each other shows us that silence not only acts as a teacher to the characters in this story but as a creator, building the relationships that they will maintain and cherish for years to come.

Though silence teaches and creates things, it also leaves things bottled up inside and emotions running astray. In "The Chosen", the characters didn't always know what was going on with the others because they were silent. Danny and his father, Reb, didn't talk for many years, except to study. In that span of time, Danny hid things from his father and never knew what to think or if his father accepted him. When they finally do speak Reb spills out some of the emotion and doubt he's been having about the type of father he is: "Daniel,' he said brokenly. `Forgive me...for everything...I gave done. A-a wiser father...may have done differently. I am not...wise.'" (Potok, 268). Reb had been burdened by wondering if he was doing the right thing by raising Danny in silence all those years. When Danny and Reuven were silenced by Reb, they did not know what to think of each other. We only get Reuven's point of view, since he is the narrator, but it is implied that Danny misses Reuven, as well. At some points in the story, Reuven decides to just forget about Danny because they are not talking, so Reuven's strong feelings for Danny cannot be reciprocated. Silence creates a barrier between Reuven and his father. Mr. Malter does not tell Reuven that the Zionists want him to go with him until after he gets out of the hospital. Mr. Malter is keeping this information to himself, so even though he is not completely silent, he probably feels guilty about keep such information to himself. When he does tell Reuven, Reuven is surprised and wonders why his father has not told him sooner. Silence can be a good thing, as proven by how it teaches and creates things in this story, but it also can provide a barrier between two people.

Silence sometimes is passive, not meaning a thing, but in "The Chosen" most silences do mean something. Silence sculpted Danny and Reuven into who they were at the end of the story. Be it teaching, creating, or being a barrier, silence is one of the themes that dominates this book.

##### Source(s)

http://www.bookrags.com/essay-2005/11/14/232528/04