Is it possible that the very well-known and respected novel The Chosen by Chaim Potok wasn't ended quite as well as it could have been? The conclusion of this novel does not confide with the expectations of the readers. Potok's story of two Jewish boys that become best friends despite the fact that each of the boys has different beliefs within the Jewish religion has had conflict over. Some might argue that the end of the novel is good because everyone wins. Others say the novel ends with some characters feeling disappointment and somewhat confused.
Danny is a very intelligent boy who makes a life changing decision. This decision not only affects Danny, but Reb Saunders as well. Danny decides to take the route of psychology rather than following in the footsteps of his father. It is disappointing to the reader to read Danny's father saying Danny never had a soul. Reb Saunders should have never said that to the two young men. The statements are way out of character.
Danny is raised in silence. Reb Saunders never opens up and talks to Danny until the end of the novel. Reb Saunders explains himself and Danny is then able to see why Reb Saunders did things that way. Reuven on the other hand, has always been confused about the whole "teaching in silence" factor. In an alternate ending, Reuven should have at least come to some understandings of the teachings of Reb Saunders. Potok should not have left one a character confused in such a manner. Reuven should have been explained to better and then told Reb Saunders what Reuven really thinks about all of the things Rev Saunders did to Danny as a child when he didn't really speak to Danny at all.
When asked by Reuven's father, Mr. Malter, Danny says that if there is no other way, Danny will raise his son in silence. In an alternate ending, Danny would refuse to do such things to children because Danny has seen what it does to children who are raised in such a manner. Reuven is then further confused on the subject after that.
Danny secretly applies to graduate programs in psychology, but soon realizes that his father will inevitably see letters from the schools in the family's mailbox. One night, after a discussion with his father, Reuven realizes that Reb Saunders is asking him to come over so he can indirectly talk to Danny. Reuven goes to their house, and Reb Saunders, using Reuven as a buffer to speak to Danny, finally explains why he raised Danny in silence. He says he always knew his son had a great mind, but was worried that his soul was empty, unable to empathize with the suffering of others. Silence was a way to make Danny explore his own soul and feel the suffering of the world. Reb Saunders further reveals that he is aware of Danny's plan to become a psychologist instead of a rabbi. He apologizes to Reuven for separating the two boys, and he apologizes to Danny for raising him in silence. At the same time, he says he saw no other way to raise Danny to become a true tzaddik—a tzaddik for the world, not only a tzaddik for his congregation. Later, in front of his congregation, he gives his blessing to Danny and the life he has chosen for himself. Danny shaves his beard and earlocks, and enrolls in a graduate program at Columbia University.
Some might argue that the end of this novel is a good one. The friendship of the two boys lasted throughout the religion war Reb Saunders was having with Mr. Malter and Danny got to be a psychologist. These things may make the reader think that the novel ended on good terms but it really didn't. Readers are dissatisfied with the end of The Chosen because it is not a strong and defined finish. Reb Saunders is disappointed with Danny and speaks way out of character; Reuven still doesn't understand the teachings of Reb Saunders, and Danny, after going through a lifetime of silence with Reb Saunders, takes into consideration, teaching a son of his own the same way. This leads to utter bewilderment of the characters and audience.
Potok's story of two Jewish boys that become best friends despite the fact that each of the boys has different beliefs within the Jewish religion has had conflict over. Because of the conclusion of this novel, people question its ending. Some might argue that the end of the novel is good because everyone wins. Others say the novel ends with some characters feeling disappointment and somewhat confused.