The Chosen

the chosen by: Chaim Potok

explain how danny's inner conflict conveys the theme of secular life versus religious obligation.

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The Conflict Between the Secular and the Religious

The main conflict between the book is between the secular and the religious; this is a conflict that manifests itself in numerous instances both internal and external. The most obvious juxtaposition of the ësecular' and the ëreligious' is shown in the friendship between Reuven Malter, who has more flexible religious customs, and Danny Saunders, who comes from a very strict Hasidic background. This conflict also takes place internally within Danny Saunders, who must choose between a life devoted to intellectual study of psychology, which holds an irreligious view of human nature, and a life devoted strictly to the Hasidic religious tradition as a tzaddik. Chaim Potok develops these as contrasting ideas, with the religious as symbolic of history, tradition and the ëold world,' while the secular symbolizes the more modern and progressive aspects of society aligned with a broader, international scope. This theme, obviously relating to the Jewish background of its characters, can be taken as a question of Judaism's place in a modern world, as its adherents are torn between the demands of the secular world and their religious faith. The inclusion of details about the founding of the state of Israel relates to this conflict, for the supporters of this state wish for a secular Jewish nation-state, while the opponents, such as Reb Saunders, want only to have a Jewish state that adheres strictly to religious convictions.