Chaim Potok's Look Into Human Nature

The Chosen: Chaim Potok's Look Into Human Nature


A bad thing is only truly bad if you fail to make good of it. The
Chosen by Chaim Potok is a testimant to the human ability to learn, grow and
prosper from adversity. The story is filled with examples of situations in
which something that may seem bad at the time, later reaps great rewards.

In the initial portion of The Chosen one of the main characters, Reuven
Malter, is struck in the eye by a baseball hit by the other main character,
Danny Saunders. Surgery is needed on Reuven's eye, and the future use of his
eye is in doubt. To most this might appear a bad situation, a terrible thing to
happen to a boy, but Reuven and Danny are brought together by this unfortunate
incident and develop a strong and rewarding friendship. This friendship of
course has its ups and downs, but overall proves to be an invaluable learning
experience to both young men.

Danny is forced to endure an awkward and possibly cruel situation for
the majority of his formative years. Danny's father never speaks with him.
With the exception of Talmud discussions and Danny's baseball team idea, Danny
and his father never speak. This situation causes Danny a great deal of
emotional pain, a pain which he is unable to comprehend his father's reasons for
inflicting. His father feared, and with reason, that if something were not done,
Danny would never find his soul. After many years, Danny finally understands,
and accepts the reasons for his father's silence, and is in many ways grateful
for its success.

History is rich with individual, and broad examples of Potok's look into
human nature. During the Second World War, America suffered approximately four
hundred thousand casualties, yet reached a state of national unity that has not
been achieved before or after. The war also ended the Great Depression that
caused so many people, son many problems. The atomic bombs dropped on the
Japanese cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki reaped considerable death and
destruction, yet prevented far more. Even as far back as biblical times, the
Isrealites became Egyption slaves, but this oppression forced them to break out
and return to the "promise land."

Charles Darwin theorized that something that is able to survive, adapt
and thrive under harsh conditions becomes stronger and better. The world is
abundant with examples great and small of Potok's look into human nature. While
not all bad situations reap greater rewards than the pain inflicted, if the
person or people fail to learn and make something good of it, then it is all for
naught.