The Chosen


Chaim Potok

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Silence Symbol Icon
The characters of The Chosen continually debate the value of silence and partial resolution comes only in the last pages of the novel. Moments of silence range from casual and comfortable to cold and painful. The pain of silence arises because silence is always accompanied (for both the characters and the reader) with a lack of explanation. Each character must learn the meaning and use of silence for himself. This points to the fact that silence in The Chosen represents introspection and self-knowledge. At the same time silence can also represent great connection and understanding between two people. Reb Saunders wishes that everyone could communicate without words. Reuven finds this ridiculous at first but then learns that Reb Saunders truly understood his son in spite of the fact that that they never spoke to each other. The space left by silence is a powerful tool in The Chosen, leaving room for thought, pain, instruction and communion.

Silence Quotes in The Chosen

The The Chosen quotes below all refer to the symbol of Silence. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
Judaism and Tradition Theme Icon
Chapter 5 Quotes

I stood in that room for a long time, watching the sunlight and listening to the sounds on the street outside. I stood there, tasting the room and the sunlight and the sounds …

Related Characters: Reuven Malter (speaker)
Related Symbols: Silence
Page Number: 98
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 13 Quotes

Poor Danny, I thought. Professor Appleman, with his experimental psychology, is torturing your mind. And your father, with his bizarre silence – which I still couldn’t understand, no matter how often I thought about it – is torturing your soul.”

Related Characters: Reuven Malter (speaker), Danny Saunders, Reb Isaac Saunders, Professor Nathan Appleman
Related Symbols: Silence
Page Number: 222
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 15 Quotes

We had begun to communicate with our eyes, with nods of our heads, with gestures of our hands.

Related Characters: Reuven Malter (speaker), Danny Saunders
Related Symbols: Eyes and Blindness, Silence
Page Number: 255-256
Explanation and Analysis:
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