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The Promise By Chaim Potok Essay

859 words - 3 pages

The Promise by Chaim Potok


1.In 10-12 sentences, write a brief outline of the plot of the novel. Be

sure to make clear the major conflict of the story.


1.In the beginning of the novel, the main character, Reuben, is spending

some time with his father at their cottage. His friend, Rachel is also

vacationing nearby. Reuben finds out that Rachel's 14 year old cousin,

Michael, is mentally ill, and Reuben seems to be the only person Michael

will talk to. Near the end of the summer, Reuben's best friend Danny comes

to visit Reuben and the Gordons (Rachel's family) invite Danny over to

discuss Michael because Danny is a genius, and he is studying psychology.

At the summer's end, Michael is put into the treatment centre at which

Danny is working. Reuben becomes friends with Michael's father, Abraham

Gordon, a very respected scholar. Unfortunately, his ideas are not approved

by Reuben's professor, Rav Kalman. Rav Kalman tells Reuben that if he

continues to see Abraham and Michael Gordon, he will not be given his

smicha, the degree which he has been working to get for so long. Also,

Michael does not respond well to the treatment centre, and bec omes

violent. Danny decides to use an experimental treatment on Michael, which

involves not letting him talk to anyone or interact with anything except

his therapist. The major conflict is when Michael becomes catatonic, and it

seems as if Reuben will not get his smicha and Michael will never be cured.

Danny decides to have a long conversation with Rav Kalman, and convinces

him to at least give Reuben the smicha examination. During the examination,

Reuben uses a method called test emendation, which is strictly forbidden by

his school. Reuben backs up his arguments so well, that Rav Kalman does

give him smicha, and when Reuben tells this to Michael (although Michael is

in a comatose state) Michael awakes and tells Reuben, Danny and his parents

that he hates his father because when his father writes a book, all the

people who disagree with his ideas write hateful articles, and

excommunicate the Gordon family.


2.What is the setting of the novel?


2.The novel is set in Willamsburg, Brooklyn, in the 1950's.


3.In one sentence, state the climax of the novel. Explain how it solves...

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