The Chosen

"The World Drinks our Blood:" Reuven's Moral Development in The Chosen 12th Grade

No matter how unjust and undeserved suffering may seem, its nature is an inevitable manifestation in life. Chaim Potok explores this concept through Reuven Malter, one of the two protagonists in The Chosen. On account of a severe wound to Reuven’s eye, he becomes acquainted with Danny Saunders, heir to the Rabbinic position held by his father, Reb Saunders, in his Hasidic Jewish community. After the incident, Danny attempts to reconcile with the hospitalized Reuven for causing the injury, whose initial reluctance progresses into acceptance once he allows himself to acknowledge Danny’s apology. From that moment, the two establish a powerful bond in which they each serve as emotional vessels for the other as they struggle through their own personal suffering. Reuven’s acceptance of Danny’s apology reshapes and improves his perception of the greater world, enabling him to more empathetically examine the rationale of suffering in not only Danny’s life, but of all humankind.

Reuven’s initial inability to view Danny as an individual with ambitions and beliefs beyond Hasidism develops from his generalized and bitter predisposition towards the Hasidic Jewish community. The rift between Reuven and Danny is first illustrated minutes...

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