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"Important Events That Occur In Danny Saunders And Reuven Malter's Friendship, In The Novel The Chosen, By Chaim Potok."

1417 words - 6 pages

-SYMBOLISM-"Beyond this universality of the symbolic language, we are apprised of the divineness of this superior use of things, whereby the world is a temple, whose walls are covered with emblems, pictures and commandments of the Deity … small and mean things serve as well as great symbols."~Ralph Waldo EmersonA DEFINITIVE LOOK AT SYMBOLIC IMAGERY IN THE CHOSENEric BowdenFebruary 19, 2002The use of symbolism as a rhetorical device is a staple in many great works of literature. Chaim Potok does not deviate from this saying, and, in truth, uses symbolism in diverse and meaningful ways in his novel The Chosen. For instance, Potok creates layers of meaning by positioning Danny and Reuven's homes in areas that are separate but symbolically connected by a single street. Another example of symbolism would be Potok's treatment of light. Finally, Potok uses eyes and perception in symbolically significant ways. From these few, but good, examples one can see that pockets of symbolism permeate the novel The Chosen.First of all, the living location of Reuven and Danny is integral to the symbolism of their lives. They live on separate streets of no consequence that both adjoin to a street called Lee Avenue (which is of consequence). This may be seen as a bridge, with Danny and Reuven's streets acting as the supports and Lee Avenue as the traversal. The name of the street also lends itself to being a symbol, since "lee" is defined as the side sheltered against the winds. This shelter is possibly the only way these two people could have met due to the circumstance of their baseball competition.The second occurrence of symbolism presents itself in the author's use of light. There are two major occasions when he uses light, one being when he is likening the main characters to a certain type of light, the other is when he positions the light to highlight certain objects or scenes.Chaim Potok personifies light into the two main characters. The first type would be sunlight, or natural-outdoor light. Reuven is cast of this mold in that he lives his Jewish heritage with some secular learning - in other words, learning from the outside. He takes the teachings of the "gentiles" and grows from it much like a bush. Danny, however, is raised in a harsher light, where all light from the outdoors is shut out. From the story, "The ceiling was white, and naked bulbs hung from it on dark wires, flooding the room with harsh light" (p. 117). It is the nature of artificial light to be bright, and with the bulbs being uncovered the light is localized and doesn't diffuse well into the darkened corners. This room parallels Danny's life - bright, illuminated with understanding, but ignorant of the ways of the outer world (the dark corners). This is where Reuven comes in and figuratively acts as Danny's flashlight, bringing his experience of non-Jewish life to Danny and allowing them to live a Jewish life in a secular world.Chaim Potok's second use of light can be seen by the...

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