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Chaim Potok and The Chosen

Chaim Potok's times and background, how it relates to his novel The Chosen

Olivia Lewis

on 27 February 2013

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Transcript of Chaim Potok and The Chosen

Chaim Potok and The Chosen Potok's Background Bio: from Birth to Book Chaim Potok is Born 1929 1946-1954 Adolescence 1929-1946 Served as chaplain in U.S. Army in Korea (1955-57)
Taught at U. of Judaism in L.A. (1957-59)
Ph.D in philosophy from U.Penn in 1965
Editor in Chief of the Jewish Publication Society (1965-74) 1954-1967 The Chosen 1960-1967 Brooklyn
deeply traditional Hasidic Jews
Immigrated from Eastern Europe Life engulfed by Yeshiva
Dreamed of becoming an artist
Read secular books at a public library
Started reading literature to learn how to write Embraced Conservative Judaism
Graduated Yeshiva University in 1950
Ordained Conservative Rabbi in 1954
Excommunicated from friends and family Young Adulthood The Chosen written from 1960-67
Published in 1967 Adulthood Historical Context World War II
and the Aftermath 1939-1942 1942-1945 Nov. 1942- May 1945 1942-1968 "The novel is, among other things, the record of a mirror held up to life-a mirror of a peculiar sort, one that contains the unique warps and the silver backing of a single lived life, the strange and risky life of the novelist. It is his private mirror." Series of Germanic invasions in Europe
Bombing of Pearl Harbor
Not going too well for Allies Tide turns -- things go well for Allies
Battle of the Bulge--last German offensive
May 1945- V-E Day
September 1945 - V-J Day The Holocaust Reveal WWII Offensive 3 Major Divisions of The Chosen Zionism Chaim Potok Danny Reb Saunders Reuven Mr. Malter Foci of The Chosen American public first notified of Jewish Persecution
U.S. and other Allies closed doors
Full extent discovered after WWII ended Story picks up just before D-Day (1944)
Allie's victory serves as a background
Personal - relate his own experience After the happiness of V-E and V-J Day, the atrocities are revealed
Divisions less prominent, allows for relationships to grow
Sympathize with characters Character Parallels Effect on Plot Age
Family situation
- Drew from his own experiences to create characters Desire to be a Rabbi
Desire for a friend Teacher, Mentor Traditional Hasidism
''It was essentially a fundamentalist atmosphere, which by definition is both joyous and oppressive simultaneously" Situations Reveal character Creates Conflict Mirrors Author Forms Theme Creates reactions in characters
Reveals character differences Struggle between tradition and modernity -- to isolate oneselves within tradition, or open up and broaden in the face of difficulty Differences in character leads to conflict Character parallelism
More than struggle between characters, within Potok himself
Potok's times and background led to the creation of a novel reflecting on himself 1942 Zionist General Council called for unlimited Jewish immigration to Palestine
1949 Palestine state created
1951-1968 Establishment and revision of Jerusalem Program
Avid American supportersTraditional oppositionHeightens divisions--creates volatileness
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