State of Israel sample essay
The two friends remain separated till the official declaration of the State of Israel is made by the United Nations. When it is obvious that Israel will ultimately win over the Arabs, Reb Saunders gives in and allows his son to renew his friendship with Reuven. Though the bond of friendship between them is once again secured and strengthened, Reuven bears a grudge against Danny’s father. Throughout the novel, Reuven is portrayed as being highly intellectual and open-minded and not one to judge a person on impulse. But when it comes to Reb Saunders, Reuven makes quick and harsh judgment of him.
However, towards the end of the novel, Reuven appreciates Danny’s father’s approach and realizes he had missed seeing the complexity of his character. Reb Saunders gives a convincing explanation for all his actions. Through his characters, Potok presents an insight into the American Jewish faith in the wake of the Holocaust. Moreover, the conflict between modernity and tradition is captured picturesquely. The emotional turmoil of the characters just could not be expressed better. The novel also portrays the various ways in which Jewish observance is balanced with the modern life in America in the twentieth century.
These fundamental differences in their opinions push the novel in an interesting manner. Thus it is clear that Zionism had different effects on different people. Though we see the impact of Zionism in Potok’s novels, we cannot say for certain if he was in favor of it or against it from this novel. It is clear that Potok is trying to voice his thoughts through the characters. But the characters themselves are divided in their views. So, what could be told about the effect of Zionism is, it is present just like any other event in a novel, the characters reacting in different ways as they would to other events in life.
Zionism was a part of life and reality, and people had various approaches to it. We can see the effect of Zionism in almost all the characters. Almost all the characters are affected by a single person’s view. An individual’s perspective of Zionism affects the lives of many people around him. Reb Saunders’ anti-Zionist stance, sort of, changes when he gives his son permission to talk to Reuven. Reb Saunders finally apologizes to Reuven and Danny for causing the separation. When Reb Saunders explains the reasons behind his actions, Reuven feels great admiration for him.
Saunders’ only concern is that his son should be humane and should understand the pain and sufferings of his fellow beings. He also wants Danny to stick to the religious beliefs and observe the Ten Commandments. When this is assured, Saunders does not have much difficulty in allowing his son to choose the profession of his liking. Reb Saunders is grateful for having got to know Reuven and his father. When Reb Saunders talks about the duties of Jews, he says that it the duty of every Jew to accept the destiny and the responsibilities of being born a Jew.
His view is that a true Jew should pay little or no attention to the outside world and instead be immersed in the study of Jewish texts and dismiss the non-Jewish world around them. Even the slaughter of millions of European Jews in the Holocaust does not bring about the change in his views. He again feels that it is the will of the God. But towards the end of the novel, Reb Saunders’ view on the duties and obligations of the Jews seem to dilute. He is able to accept Danny’s decision to become a psychologist.
He is finally able to appreciate the fact that one could be true to his faith and still be bonded with the outside world. These events are not only a milieu for the novel, but also adds significantly to the plot. These writers relied more on their imaginative and writing skills. Henry Roth was yet another American Jewish writer who in his own superior style picturesquely portrayed the cultural conflicts of the immigrant Jews. Though there was a long break after his successful debut novel Call It Sleep, critics feel that this single novel is credible enough to gauge his style.
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