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Nature Vs Nurture

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Nature vs. Nurture

In the novel, The Chosen, by Chaim Potok, Danny Saunders is a teenage Hasidic Jew who overcomes a home life that nurtures a future that conflicts with his nature, allowing Danny to make decisions based on his high intellectual ability, athleticism, ambition and compassionate instincts. His natural abilities are demonstrated when Danny makes important decisions regarding his future that conflict with his religious upbringing. Although Danny's home life nurtures a career path for Danny that is different than his nature, ultimately, Danny's actions, choices and inner strength guide his passions. Danny's natural traits help lead him to live a more satisfying life and he also learns that he has not disappointed anyone.

Danny's relationships at home seem to discourage Danny from following his dream of becoming a psychologist. However, Danny is a natural genius who uses his photographic memory to learn about the tzaddik tradition, teach himself the German language and psychology. Danny's deep desire for learning and ambition is demonstrated when he goes to the library to learn more about his interests, even though this goes against his father's wishes. Unfortunately, Danny believes his father is preparing Danny to attend the Jewish school, Hirsch College, and become a rabbi in the dynasty. Danny battles with his own ambition and passion for learning, especially when he becomes interested in the Freudian theories which conflict greatly with his Hasidic Jewish faith. QUOTE from book.

Danny also demonstrates his athleticism and ambition when he competes against another Jewish team in baseball. Danny has an unusual ability of hitting fast line drives in baseball. During one game, he hits a line drive, seriously injuring a player from the other team. Danny's ambition causes him to injury the player in an effort to win the baseball game. However, Danny shows compassion when he visits the injured player several times and offers his apology. Danny eventually befriends the injured player.

Although Danny is conflicted with h is inner passion to become a psychologist, he is naturally a loyal and compassionate person. Therefore, his decision to tell his family about his future plans to become a psychologist and attend Columbia University is extremely difficult for him. Although Danny is naturally a respectful person, who does not want to disappoint his family, his natural instincts prevail and he pursues a career that matches his natural abilities and gifts. Ironically, Danny's father, Reb Saunders receives Danny's news well.

And so Reb Saunders reveals his plan was not merely to train Danny to take his inherited position, but rather to pass along tradition of tzaddik so that if Danny chose to reject old world, he would be prepared to enter the new one with a compassionate soul, not merely with a brilliant uncaring



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