The Chosen: Chaim Potok's Look Into Human Nature
A bad thing is only truly bad if you fail to make good of it. The Chosen by Chaim Potok is a testimant to the human ability to learn, grow and prosper from adversity. The story is filled with examples of situations in which something that may seem bad at the time, later reaps great rewards.
In the initial portion of The Chosen one of the main characters, Reuven Malter, is struck in the eye by a baseball hit by the other main character, Danny Saunders. Surgery is needed on Reuven's eye, and the future use of his eye is in doubt. To most this might appear a bad situation, a terrible thing to happen to a boy, but Reuven and Danny are brought together by this unfortunate incident and develop a strong and rewarding friendship. This friendship of course has its ups and downs, but overall proves to be an invaluable learning experience to both young men.
Danny is forced to endure an awkward and possibly cruel situation for the majority of his formative years. Danny's father never speaks with him. With the exception of Talmud discussions and Danny's baseball team idea, Danny and his father never speak. This situation causes Danny a great deal of emotional pain, a pain which he is unable to comprehend his father's reasons for inflicting. His father feared, and with reason, that if something were not done, Danny would never find his soul. After many years, Danny finally understands, and accepts the reasons for his father's silence, and is in many ways grateful for its success.
History is rich with individual, and broad examples of Potok's look into human nature. During the Second World War, America suffered approximately four hundred thousand casualties, yet reached a state of national unity that has not been achieved before or after. The war also ended the Great Depression that caused so many people, son many problems. The atomic bombs dropped on the Japanese cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki reaped considerable death and destruction, yet prevented far more. Even as far back as biblical times, the Isrealites became Egyption slaves, but this oppression forced them to break out and return to the "promise land."
Charles Darwin theorized that something that is able to survive, adapt and thrive under harsh conditions becomes stronger and better. The world is abundant with examples great and small of Potok's look into human nature. While not all bad situations reap greater rewards than the pain inflicted, if the person or people fail to learn and make something good of it, then it is all for naught.