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The Chosen by Chaim Potok Genre: Bildungsroman A novel that traces the intellectual, moral, and psychological growth of a young protagonist (rite of passage).

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Presentation on theme: "The Chosen by Chaim Potok Genre: Bildungsroman A novel that traces the intellectual, moral, and psychological growth of a young protagonist (rite of passage)."— Presentation transcript:

1 The Chosen by Chaim Potok Genre: Bildungsroman A novel that traces the intellectual, moral, and psychological growth of a young protagonist (rite of passage).

2  Born in the Bronx, a New York City borough very similar to the Brooklyn community in The Chosen  Raised in an Orthodox Jewish family and attended a Jewish parochial school that focused on the study of the Talmud, Jewish law  Became a novelist and used familiar settings in his stories Chaim Potok

3  The Chosen, his second novel, was published in 1967.  Potok’s goal is to create a link between one particular group and the rest of humanity, as in The Chosen, where Reuven and Danny who are both Jewish, strive to be a part of the American mainstream. Potok

4  Setting: Williamsburg, Brooklyn, NY, during WWII  Motifs  Parallels: Reuven & Danny are parallels.  Reuven’s near blindness experience parallels with Danny’s experience with silence.  War is parallel to the softball game.  Silence—a path to the soul and finding self. Literary Elements

5 o Theme = Main idea(s) of the novel. o Motifs = Recurring ideas or literary elements that help develop the major themes.  Themes:  Conflict between tradition and modernity  Choosing vs being chosen  Silence as means to find the soul  Parallels Themes and Motifs

6  Father/Son Relationships  Vision & Perception  Suffering to bring about increased awareness of self and others  Friendship and Forgiveness Motifs

7 Symbols are characters, objects, or ideas that represent abstract concepts.  Eyes—symbolize vision both literally and figuratively  The Talmud—a series of commentaries by rabbis, symbolizes the importance of tradition and knowledge to gain a more in-depth understanding of Judaism. Symbols

8 Protagonists  Reuven is the narrator—first person narration  Reuven is an Orthodox Jew  Reuven has a good relationship with his father  Reuven’s mother has passed away; he has no siblings  Danny is a Hasidic Jew  Danny’s father treats him with silence Reuven Malter & Danny Saunders

9  Reuven and Danny meet for the first time at a softball game.  Danny calls Reuven and his team apikorism = “a Jew who is educated in Judaism who denied the basic tenets of his faith” (Potok 23).  Danny hits Reuven with the ball, breaking his glasses and cutting his pupil. Reuven & Danny

10 o Orthodox Jews:  Rational  Intellectual  Concrete o Hasidic Jews:  Emotional  Spiritual  Supernatural Orthodox & Hasidic Jews

11  Apikorism—an educated Jew who denies the basic tenets of his faith  Blat—two pages of Talmud  Earlocks—hair grown long at the temples  Gematriya—arithmetical manipulation to uncover hidden meaning, by determining the numerical equivalents of the Hebrew letters  Gentile—someone who is not Jewish (Goy)  Hasid—pious one Jewish Terms

12  Kabbalah—Jewish mysticism  Kaddish—Jewish prayer for the dead  Kosher—food that has been prepared in accordance with Kashrut, the Jewish dietary law  Shabbat—Sabbath, day of rest and worship Terms

13  Talmud—collection of rabbi’s interpretation of the laws in the Torah and other issues in Jewish life  Tefillin—religious accessory, consisting of small boxes, containing biblical quotes, attached together by strips of leather  Tzaddick—a Hasidic rabbi, considered a superhuman who has a special connection with God  Tzizit—fringes that hang down from the Jewish prayer shawl as a reminder to obey Jewish laws Terms

14  Yeshiva—Jewish parochial school  Yiddish—language of the Eastern European Jews, a mix of German and Polish  Zionism—establishing the Jewish state of Israel in Palestine, a homeland to the Jewish people after WWII Terms

15  Principles of Baal Shem Tov-\—purpose of man is to make his life holy; the heart dominates the mind and deep spiritual experience is available to all  Main conflict between the Orthodox and the Hasidic Jews: Orthodox Jews were in favor of Zionism vs Hasidic Jews, who were against it—they believed the Messiah should come and determine where the state of Israel should be established More Info

16  D-Day: Danny visits Reuven in the hospital which marks the beginning of their friendship  FDR’s death: a sad day for our nation; also Reuven equates the senselessness of Roosevelt’s death to the senselessness of Billy’s blindness  Hasidic Jews started in Poland; many of them lived in Eastern Europe; many migrated to U.S. Important Dates & Facts


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