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The Chosen

The Chosen

by Chaim Potok

Analysis: Tone

Take a story's temperature by studying its tone. Is it hopeful? Cynical? Snarky? Playful?

Wide-eyed and wondering

The shattering of Reuven’s glasses and the metaphorical opening of his eyes that follows set the tone for the novel. Each page asks the characters (and the readers) to expand their vision, to accept nothing at face value, to relentlessly interrogate everything they see until deeper meanings are revealed.

Such intense questioning often leads to intense frustration. Nobody said deep insight was easy. Yet, all that frustration can also lead to moments of beautiful clarity, like when Danny learns to hear silence. On the other hand, even though the major conflict is resolved happily at the end of the novel, many unanswered questions remain. Perhaps the tone shows us a key concept in The Chosen: a questioning approach to life will help us see the world more clearly.

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