Shaping A Life (The Chosen Essay

908 words - 4 pages

Shaping A Life Though the idea that a son and his father are different is often explored in books, in the Jewish novel The Chosen, the differences between Danny Saunders, the son of a very powerful man in the Jewish world, and his father, Reb Saunders, were so vast it might be possible to entertain thoughts that those two were not related. The Saunders were Hasidic Jews. They were considered "different" and, so it seemed, almost prided themselves in being that way. They dressed the same way as they had for hundreds of years, followed their own beliefs, and scorned the ones who would not follow their way of life. This scorn brought Danny and Reuven, an Orthodox Jew, together when the hatred almost blinded Reuven, literally. The idea of hatred and that one must conquer the people who do not believe the way that Hasidic Jews believe stemmed most immediately from Reb Saunders. Reb's controlling behavior ultimately shaped Danny to believe in what he thought was right and to make his own decisions, not follow in the way that Reb had obviously planned for him."His chin, jaw and cheekbones were made up of jutting hard lines, his nose was straight and pointed, his lips full rising to a steep angle from the center point beneath his nose, and then slanting off to form a too wide mouth"(17). Reuven used this description to show that physically Reb and Danny were the same, and one could rightly look at them and see harsh judgments or even a cruel quality about them. On one side, with Reb, those guesses of personality could be considered correct. Though Danny did not possess within himself the idea that they should "Burn in hell, you apikorsim"(28), his father had placed the idea that all who did not follow Hasid law were wrong. Danny was a very strong boy both mentally and physically. The idea that Reb could shape Danny into what he wanted started out working, but Danny followed him with a blind savageness seemed destined to fail. Reb's desire to create a person without a will of his or her own was not a reasonable goal, especially with someone as intelligent as Danny.Throughout his own childhood experiences, Reb Saunders had ambitions to become a Zadic. He believed in his Jewish faith with all his heart and would never renounce it. He studied the Torah and Jewish law, giving into the religion with all of his heart. The people of his community came to him with problems and he became a mediator of sorts. The people then followed him as if he were some sort of a god. But Reb was not a god. Reb,...

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