Compare and Contrast Danny Saunders and Reuven Malter

How their differences brought them closer because of their parallel struggles

Claim Potok’s book, The Chosen, narrates the differences in both Danny Saunders’ and Reuven Malter’s upbringings. It depicts these two friends as having wide differences in their cultures, family situations and religious perspectives. Most importantly, it shows how these differences allowed them to draw from each other thereby influencing their lives in a positive way.

Despite the fact that these individuals have wide disparities in personality and upbringing, they have similarities in various aspects. For instance, both of them have quick minds, love learning and have deep Jewish faith. The fact that they love learning is depicted in their study of Graetz’s History of the Jews.

Besides the similarities above, the two friends have conspicuous differences. For instance, Danny is depicted as an introvert. This trait emanates from the silent relationship he has with his father, Reb Saunders, a Tzaddik or religious leader of the Hasidic sect. He raises Danny in utter silence with the aim of having him take over his position, as is the culture among Hasidic Jews.  This explains why he talks to Danny only when they are studying the Torah. This is further depicted when Danny tells Reuven that the longest sentence he has ever heard from his father was when he told him to bring Reuven home. 

On the other hand, Reuven Malter is a more open character. He draws this trait from his relationship with David Malter, his father. According to David, the success to a father-son relationship hugely relies on an open communication between the two. Potok substantiates this fact in the beginning of the book, where David teaches Reuven about forgiveness at the hospital.  Besides, this open relationship is depicted when David and Reuven talk about Reb Saunders. While Reuven thinks Reb is a complicated man, his father convinces him otherwise. 

The differences between these individuals play a huge role in cementing their relationship. Danny who is described as lonely finds it easy to confide in Reveun because of his more accessible and open character.  This happens because he believes he can talk to him without fear and that Reuven understands him better. This relationship makes Danny to be more receptive to his father’s Hasidic lifestyle that he was once against. On the other hand, Reuven perspective about the world is broadened through his relations with Reb and Danny Saunders.  He learns to be more sympathetic with others and this further cements his relationship with Danny