Study Help Essay Questions


1. Compare the Modern Orthodox world of Reuven Malter and the Hasidic world of Danny Saunders. Cite examples from the novel that support how these two worlds differ from one another.

2. Why does Potok begin the novel with Danny's and Reuven's softball teams playing each other?

3. What is the significance of Reuven's eye being damaged by Danny during the softball game?

4. Does Potok seem to support Reb Saunders' Hasidic viewpoints or Mr. Malter's less strictly religious beliefs? Or is Potok able to balance both viewpoints and not choose one over the other?

5. Write an essay in which you compare Reuven and his father's relationship with Danny and his father's. Discuss the differences in how each set of father and son express their feelings for each other.

6. Although The Chosen concerns Danny's coming of age in terms of his finding a personal identity separate from his father and his father's religion, Danny's struggle has been described as universal in that he represents other young adults. What examples in the novel support the view that Danny represents any person his age discovering a personal identity?

7. What is Reuven's greatest challenge at the end of the novel? Does his future seem brighter or bleaker than Danny's?

8. Part of Danny's dilemma involves wanting to be a psychologist and yet feeling that he must succeed his father as leader of their Hasidic sect. How does he work through this conflict, or does he?

9. Write an essay in which you discuss why Reb Saunders raises Danny in silence. Do the ill health of Danny's mother and her generally neutral presence play a role in the Reb's attitude toward his son? Support your answer with examples from the novel.

10. Compare Reb Saunders' and Mr. Malter's reactions to the murder of 6 million Jews in Europe during World War II. How does each man's reaction characterize his philosophy of life? Does Potok agree with one view more than with the other, or does he create a balanced interpretation between them?