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Analysis of friendship in The Chosen - Stick Fate into the Bin

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Stick Fate into A Bin In the beginning, God stuck his hands into two separate hats and pulled out two names. He announced, "I hereby pronounce Danny Saunders and Reuven Malter as friends from this day forward, for better or for worse, in sickness and in health, so long as they both shall live." Does that scene belong in The Chosen? No, it does not. In The Chosen by Chaim Potok, friends are selected deliberately with ulterior motives in mind. They are not chosen by fate, the Talmud, or even baseballs in the eye, no matter how convincing those sound. Friendships are mutual. Generally speaking, there are no friendships that consist of only one person; therefore, for a friendship to exist, there must be a joint agreement between two people to be friends. Having established that fact, a problem now exists: How exactly do two different people consent to be friends? Danny and Reuven met through chance (a baseball in the eye). However, that does not speak for anything by itself - the crucial factor that kick-started the friendship was Danny's persistence in talking to Reuven, even after Reuven had chased him out of the hospital room. ...read more.


He forced himself to lie just for the sake of having a conversation with Danny. ("time for me to say... a lie." (45).) Why? Perhaps he felt guilt for rejecting Danny, hence disappointing his father. Perhaps he was trying to assuage that guilt and appease his father by accepting Danny. After all, Reuven immediately reported to Mr Malter that he 'liked' Danny on his second visit. As the story continues, Reuven learns more about Hasidism through Danny. His mindset is broadened and his thinking develops from the experiences he goes through with Danny and Reb Saunders. He learns to tolerate different perspectives, even though he does not necessarily agree with them. For instance, when Hirsch University split into two factions, Reuven "managed somehow to control myself [himself] and remain silent." (178). In short, Reuven matures, and acquires values such as tolerance and understanding of people, all essential qualities for a rabbi, from his time with Danny. Of Danny and Reuven's other friends, little mention is made of them. They are vague entities, only functioning for glares or knocking people down. ...read more.


Mr Malter knew Danny even before the baseball accident. They meet in the library and discuss books; Mr Malter knows firsthand the brilliance of Danny. He urges Reuven to accept Danny and to "make him your friend...make you his friend."(55). He believes that they "can help each other in such a friendship." (81). He hopes for Reuven to help Danny sort out his thoughts and escape; perhaps he hopes for Danny to further develop Reuven's mind and help him mature, which is what happens. By choosing their sons' friends, Mr Malter and Reb Saunders show the desires fathers have for sons - to grow and mature into a worthy man. Though their definition of 'worthy' might differ, Mr Malter and Reb Saunders each pegged Danny and Reuven as deserving of the other as a friend, because they are able to help and advance each other. Thus, they both greatly influence the formation of Danny and Reuven's friendship, using it to accomplish their own agendas. Now, when God does his 'pulling names out of hats' trick again, people will stand up and say, "Enough of this nonsense! From now on, we choose our friends to our own benefits!" 1 ...read more.

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