D'Arcy McNickle's novel of the Mission Valley
1. What are Bull and his grandson doing at the beginning of the book? What does this beginning lead you to believe this story may be about?
2. Where has the boy (Antoine) been and what was his experience like?
3. What does Bull do when he sees the Dam? How does his reaction affect Antoine? What insight does this give you into their relationship?
4. Compare what Bull believes his grandson is thinking at the dam with what Antoine was really thinking. What does this show about their relationship?
5. What detail about Bull do you remember most vividly from this chapter? Why does this stand out? What other person does he remind you of (if you had to pick someone)? What are the similarities?
6. How/ where did the government men want Bull to live? Why do you think they want this?
7. Find at least one detail about both Basil and Louis. Explain how the men are related to Antoine, in both the white and tribal relationship.
8. Who is Two Sleeps and where did he come from?
9. Who is the man who comes into the camp at night singing? Why has he come and how do the other men in the circle feel about him?
10. It has been 30 years since Bull and his brother have talked. Why? How has the land changed since the men’s earlier years when they got along?
11. What is Henry Jim’s plan and how does Bull feel about it? How would you feel in Bull’s position?
12. Compare Bull and Henry Jim. Which character is more interesting to you? Why? Which would you rather spend time with?
13. Who is Toby Rafferty and why has Henry Jim come to see him?
14. What are four of the things the “men from afar countries, from somewhere east of the mountains” tell the Indians to do? What effect did these things have on the Indian families?
15. How would you rate Toby Raferty’s effectiveness on the Little Elk Reservation? Explain.
16. How does the Indian tradition of the “midsummer dances” affect their farming? What would you do about this dilemma if you worked for the BIA?
17. Who is Edwards and what kind of person is he?
18. What is Rafertys opinion of the training Washington DC gives the people they send to work with the Indians?
19. Compare Raferty’s description of Henry Jim with the earlier description about him from the book? What is similar? Different? What do you think accounts for the variance?
20. How are Pock Face and Theobold described? After being introduced, do you like these men or not? Explain.
21. What do Pock Face & Theobold do in this chapter and how do they pull Bull into their actions? Do you think their actions are justifiable?
22. How is Wells involved with the medicine bundle and how does he think the Little Elk people would’ve acted differently if they had never lost the bundle? Do you agree with his speculation? Why or why not?
23. What involvement did Henry Jim have with the bundle 30 years ago?
24. Why won’t Wells help Raferty get the bundle back? What is the right thing to do?
25. Where is Henry Jim going on Red Son at the beginning of the chapter? Why?
26. How do all Henry Jims kinsmen react to the message he is bringing them?
27. Why is Henry Jimand then everyone elseחsinging?
28. Why won’t the US Marshall let the group of Indians inside the agency?
29. Who is already inside the agency?
30. What does Two Sleeps tell the women when he’s ask to decide what should be done about Pock Face & Theobold? How do the women react to his answer?
31. What happens with the whiskey? Why do you think this section is included in the book?
32. What did Bull do to fool Antoine as Antoine was trying to find him? According to Veronica, why does he do this?
33. How does Bull react when Pock Face tells him what he has done? How does this compare with what you would expect?
34. After they find the body, what is the tension between Rafferty and Grant? How are they approaching the crime differently?
35. What do we learn about the man who was killed?
36. What seems to be Sid Grant’s opinion of the Indian community? Find specific examples to back up your ideas.
37. What does Antoine do as he translates?
38. Who is the Boy? What do you think are the most important pieces information we get about him in this chapter?
39. What is confusing to Rafferty about the situation with the murder and how Bull and his people are involved?
40. Who is singing in this chapter and what is the significance?
41. Where are Bull and his men kept and why is this location chosen instead of the jail?
42. What does The Boy think working for the government does to an Indian mans relationship with his own people? Why do you think he continues his job if he believes this?
43. What problem does Bull have with the white man’s law that is keeping him at the agency?
44. What does Pock Face tell his people when he decides to speak?
How does Pock Face’s dad, Louis, react to his son’s announcement?
How does Bull react?
45. What has the Boy come to talk to Bull’s people about?
46. What is Bull’s impression of the “government man” (Rafferty)?
47. How does Bull want to handle the situation he and his people are in?
48. Why does Bull grieve for his brother Henry Jim when he isnt even dead?
49. What do Catherine and Lucille have in common?
50. What are all the women in camp doing or getting ready for?
51. What is Marie Louise’s predicament and how does it turn out?
52. If you were a woman in camp, whose actions would probably most closely resemble your own? Why?
53. Who arrives on the train?
54. Who is Adam Pell?
55. Where does Antoine plan to go after leaving the women at his Uncle Jeromes camp?
56. What plan for the Indians does the Long Armed man explain to Antoine at the boarding school?
57. Describe Antoine’s experience at boarding school.
58. What brings Antoine back to the Little Elk Reservation?
59. What disturbs Antoine about Henry Jim’s place, and what does he see once he gets there that makes him feel better?
60. What is strange about Henry Jim lying on the ground? Why has Henry Jim moved out of his house? Does this make sense to you? Why or why not?
61. What did the government man tell Henry Jim that turned out not to be true?
62. How does Henry Jim seem to feel now about the decisions he’s made in his life?
63. What is Edwards evaluation of Henry Jim’s health?
64. What is Rafferty concerned about? What is The Boys advice to Rafferty when he questions him about how to proceed with the murder investigation?
65. What conclusion has Henry Jim come to about why his tribe just left him behind? Assuming his conclusion is correct, do you think they did the right thing?
66. How does Rafferty decide to handle the situation with Bull and the murder accusations & Henry Jim needing his family near him as he is growing weaker?
67. What happened many years ago that first caused Bull to become angry? What changed? How?
68. What types of things were the white people doing at first that just made the Indians laugh?
69. Initially, what did Indians think would eventually happen to the white men? How did things actually progress? What does Bull think his people’s mistake was in dealing with the white people?
70. Explain Bull’s experience with the white school.
71. What is the relationship between Adam Pell and Gen (or Ms. Thomas Hendricks Cook) and how is the boy that was murdered related to them?
72. What did Adam’s friend Carlos do with his family’s land and how did people react?
73. What was Adam Pell’s promise to Carlos that caused him to miss his sisters Christmas gathering to go to Cuno, Peru? What did living in Cuno make Adam begin to think about?
74. What decision does Thomas Cooke make after listening to Adam and how does Gen react?
75. Why is the design of the dam impressive to the engineer? He uses the word “beautiful” in his description. What adjective would you use?
76. How did the US Marshal and his men find the gun? What two questions are still left unanswered even after the gun is discovered?
77. What is the first thing Bull says to the group when he arrives at the agency? How is this received?
78. How are the white laws and Indian ways of handling crimes different? What are the benefits and drawbacks of each system?
79. Why is Bull afraid of Sid Grant?
80. What are the contents of the two packages from Bull’s camp?
81. What are the two reasons the Marshall gives for his belief that Bull is not the murderer?
82. Who interrupts the meeting at the agency meeting and what is his message?
83. What stops Bull from rising to confront Adam Pell when he realizes he was the one responsible for the dam?
84. How does Thomas Cooke react to Pock Faces declaration and what does he recommend?
85. What realization has shocked Adam Pell? In what way, besides the trouble over the dam, is Adam Pell involved in the trouble on the Little Elk Reservation? After the discussion, what does he want to do and why?
86. What did Rafferty and Doc Edwards make up to explain to some of the government men that came to Henry JimҒs funeral and asked why his body was taken from a teepee and not his “elegant house” and why they were taking his horse along to the burial?
87. What did Henry Jim’s burial service entail?
88. How long was Rafferty on the Little Elk Reservation before any of the Natives actually started taking to him? Does this seem a long or short amount of time? Explain.
89. What does Henry Two Bits come to ask Rafferty? What does he have that surprises Rafferty?
90. How have things changed between The Boy and the rest of the Little Elk people?
91. What does Bull ask The Boy to do for him?
92. How does it seem things are going to turn out for Pock Face? What leads you to this conclusion?
93. What behavior of Bull’s, in his younger days when he was still drinking, sometimes scared others? What ended Bull’s drinking days?
94. What does Adam Pell realize American laws made legal that he feels is wrong (but none of his important friends seemed to agree). What did the law allow that Rafferty considered “thievery”? How does he think the white men who came to the reservation were also “exhorted”?
95. What are the two things that resulted as the dam?
96. How does Adam react to the judge’s claim that these exploits against the Indians were “hasty and not well considered”?
97. What does Two Sleeps experience in this chapter?
98. The Little Elk people always get together for storytelling and remembering in the winter, but there are some things different than this winter than last. What are they?
99. Describe the circumstances of how Antoine ended up at boarding school.
100. Describe how Celeste, Antoine, Veronica and Bull are related and how their relationships have changed over the years.
101. Why does Bull want to tell old stories—those his father knew—instead of telling stories from his own life? Do you think anything similar to this happens in society today?
102. Who is Featherboy really? What does he bring the Little Elk people and why is the bundle important or why do they people need to protect it?
103. Why does Adam Pell want to bring the Little Elk people a gift? What does he plan to give them? Where did this come from and why does he think it is a good gift? Do you think his gesture is appropriate or not? Explain.
104. What messages does the Boy bring to Bull’s camp?
105. How does Louis feel about the current situation they are all in? What does he think they should do? What is Bull’s reply?
106. How has the Little Elk Valley changed over the last few years? Which changes are positive? Negative?
107. What does Pock Face think they should do about the requests they receive? What does Louis think about it or want to do?
108. What problem does Adam Rafferty think would arise if all 2,000 Indians actually decided they wanted to farm, as the government wants them to?
109. How does Adam Pell feel about the government’s Indian policy now he is aware of it?
110. What do Doc Edwards and Rafferty want Pell to do instead of telling Bull what actually happened to the bundle? Why? Do you think their plan is wise? Explain.
111. Why does Adam think his object is a good substitute for the bundle?
112. Where are Bull and his group going, and what makes Bull suspicious?
113. Where is Veronica going?
114. What do Veronica and Two Sleeps end up doing?
115. What does Veronica see that Two Sleeps seems to miss?
116. What does Two Sleeps see/ understand?
117. What does Rafferty think of The Boy? Of Bull?
118. What does Rafferty confront Adam about? (then warn him about again a few pages later)
119. What chance does Rafferty think they’ve missed by telling the Little Elk people their sacred object is gone?
120. Why has Adam Pell brought Mr. Davis?
121. What does Adam Pell tell Bull and his men? How do BullҒs men react?
122. What does Louis that basically ends the meeting?
123. Whose acts would you say are noble in the end? How do you decide?
124. What do you think of the ending of the book? Is it strong or weak? Interesting? Regardless of whether your like or dislike it, does it seem appropriate? Why or why not?
125. Go back to the first sentence of the book: “The Indian named Bull and his grandson took a walk into the mountains to look at a dam built in a cleft of rock, and what began as a walk became a journey into the world.” After finishing, what do you think this means?
126. What parts of the book seems to reflect historical events?
America: the essential questions
Thomas Lindsay, chairman of the National Endowment for the Humanities, discusses what it means to be an American:
First, what is the meaning of human equality as articulated in the Declarations assertion that ғall men are created equal? Equal in what respects? What view of human nature does this presuppose? Does the Declaration mean to include African-Americans, as Abraham Lincoln, along with Frederick Douglass and the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., insisted?
Second, what does the Declaration mean by asserting that we possess rights that are not ԓalienable? Who or what, precisely, cannot alienate our rights? Are all rights deemed inalienable, or only some? And why?
Third, why does the Founding generation consider government just only when it is instituted by the consent of the governed? Is justice for the Founders merely consent-based? If not, what might trump consent?
Fourth, why did the Founders opt for representative democracy over the ԓpure version of democracy practiced in ancient Athens? What did The Federalist (penned by Alexander Hamilton, James Madison, and John Jay) assert was the inadequacy of ancient democracy?
Fifth, how does the Constitution seek to reconcile democracy, which means rule by the majority, with the rights of minorities? Stated differently, how do we do justice both to the equality of all and to the liberty of each?
Sixth, and finally, what economic conditions make American democracy possible? Why does the Constitution protect property rights? Why do its critics, such as Marx, believe private property to be the root of injustice? How would Madison and Hamilton have responded to MarxԒs and his followers critique?
Implicit in these questions are at least ten fundamental documents and major speeches that every American citizen should study. The questions regarding the meaning of human equality, inalienable rights, popular consent, and the right of revolution clearly require an examination of the Declaration, along with Frederick DouglassҒs The Meaning of the Fourth of July to the Negro,Ӕ and Chief Justice Taneys infamous opinion for the majority in the Dred Scott case (where Taney denies that African-Americans have any rights that whites are bound to respect). Against Taney, Frederick DouglassҒs and Lincolns scathing critiques of the Dred Scott opinion need to be taught.
The Declaration needs also to be scrutinized in its relation to the pro-womanҒs-suffrage, 1848 Seneca Falls Declaration of Sentiments and ResolutionsӔ and the Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr.s ғI Have a Dream speech, delivered on the National Mall in 1963. Why did Elizabeth Cady Stanton look to the form and substance of the Declaration of Independence in crafting the Seneca Falls Declaration? What did the Reverend King mean by asserting that the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution constituted a ԓpromissory note to which every American was to fall heir?
The Constitution, of course, must be taught to our students. As both critics and admirers of the Constitution agree, there is no more authoritative commentary on that document than The Federalist, the series of 85 newspaper essays defending and explaining the Constitution, written during the period that the states were debating its ratification. Specifically, the questions regarding representation, minority rights, and the economics of democracy require examination of the Constitution and The Federalist, along with Theodore and Franklin RooseveltԒs writings and speeches on economic democracy.
Finally, for reasons already articulated, all students need to be introduced both to Tocquevilles defense of democratic equality and to his concerns over the intellectual conformism to which American democracy lies exposed.
during 7th period
For Polson High website
I’m a _________, ________ and _________ (list three things that describe you; for example, a writer, a video game addict, a shepherd) from __________ (list the general area you live in, e.g. country, state or city, but don’t ever give your address).
I think of myself as a _______ (your temperament e.g. quiet, bubbly, shy, outgoing) person, although I’ve also been known to __________ when __________ . I asked my friends how they would describe me and they said ________, ________ and _________.
The things I love most in life are ______, _________ and ________ (list your favorite things, e.g. hanging with friends, my relationship with God, photography, cycling, family, my kids). I’ve been ___________ (one of your hobbies) for ____ years, and I really love it.
My idea of the perfect day would start with _________. And then I’d _______ and finish off by ________.
The kinds of people I’d like to spend time with are ones who are ________ and ________. That’s important to me because __________.
Use specifics. Be sincere and honest. Write like you talk. Show your personality. If you make jokes, make them tasteful, self-deprecating or sarcastic, and do so with caution. Figure out what makes you different from everyone else, and use it to your advantage. Again, stay away from generic adjectives and focus more on proper nouns and stories. Stay consistently positive and confident without seeming annoying and arrogant. Be proud of who you are and wear it confidently in your language and tone. No red flags, no obvious baggage, no glaring insecurities, no spelling mistakes, no superficial wish list about money or looks.
You should have fun writing your profile. If you have fun writing it, the reader will likely have fun reading it.
Citizenship Essay due Monday, May 5
Postsecondary Essay due Monday, May 12
Work Ethic Essay due Monday, May 19
Issue of Concern Essay due Tuesday, May 27
Write an essay in which you discuss how you anticipate meeting the personal challenges and responsibilities of citizenship in your community and/or the world. (200 words or less)
Postsecondary Education and Career Goals Essay
Write an essay in which you state your postsecondary and career goals and summarize your plan to achieve them. Your essay should include a discussion of education and its role in your future plan. (200 words or less)
Work Ethic Essay
Write an essay responding to one of the following statements regarding the value of work and the work ethic. (200 words or less)
“The secret of joy in work is contained in one wordexcellence. To know how to do something well is to enjoy it.” Pearl Buck
“Opportunity is missed by most people because it is dressed in overalls and looks like work.”
Thomas A. Edison
“My grandfather once told me that there are two kinds of people: those who work and those who take the credit. He told be to try to be in the first group; there was less competition there.”
“Nothing is really work unless you would rather be doing something else.”
James M. Barrie
“Instead of thinking about where you are, think about where you want to be. It takes twenty years of hard work to be an overnight success.” Diana Rankin
“Far and away the best prize that life offers in the chance to work hard at work worth doing.”
An Issue of Concern Essay
Discuss an issue of personal, local, national, or international concern, and it’s importance to you. (300 words or less)
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Hasidic - the members of a sect of Jewish mystics that originated in Poland in the eighteenth century
samovars - metal urns used throughout Russia for boiling water for tea
Yiddish - a language spoken by many European Jews and their descendants
Michna service - afternoon services
Shabbat - the Sabbath, the day set apart in the fourth commandment of the Bible to be observed as a day of rest from all labor, originally the seventh day of the week, Saturday, the day on which God rested from the work of creation
Yeshiva - a school or college for Talmudic studies, combining religious and secular studies
Apikorism - Jews who are not Hasids; an extremely negative term
Shamashim - an official in synagogue
Jewish Orthodox - strictly observing the rites and traditions of Judaism as formulated in the Torah and Talmud
Talmud - the collection of writings constituting the Jewish civil and religious law. It consists of two parts
tzitzit (zitzit) - the fringes or tassels worn by orthodox Jewish men
Torah - the first five books of the Old Testament
momzer - a curse; a term of abuse
1. Why do the Jewish parochial schools have competitive baseball leagues?
2. Briefly describe Mr. Galanter. What is his baseball philosophy?
3. What painful thing does Reuven do just before the start of a game?
4. Contrast the uniforms of the opposing team with the way Reuven’s team is dressed.
5. What does the first confrontation between the two coaches signify?
6. Briefly describe Danny Saunders. Why is Reuven angry when Danny calls the team apikorism?
7. As the game continues, why does Reuven find himself more and more angry at the opposing team?
8. For what reasons does Mr. Galanter put Reuven in as the pitcher for the last inning of the game?
9. List two possible reasons Reuven decides to throw a fastball to Danny for the last strike.
10. Briefly describe Reuven’s injuries. Why does Mr. Galanter go to call a cab after his team loses the game?
kosher - food which is considered fit to eat by Jewish law
abba - father
tefillin - an assist and reminder used in Jewish prayer
1. Describe a few things which occur at the very beginning of Reuven’s hospital stay.
2. Briefly describe Mr. Savo, Billy, and Reuven’s father.
3. How does Reuven feel about Danny Saunders? What does his father think about his son’s attitude toward Danny? State a theme for this story based on Mr. Malter’s advice to Reuven that he should listen when someone wants to talk to him.
4. Why is Reuven worried about his eye? What insight does Reuven gain about life while worrying about his eye?
5. What does Reuven’s father do for a living?
6. Could Reuven’s thoughts about blindness also serve as a theme? If so, what?
phylacteries - a leather box which holds passages from the Torah, worn during prayers
rabbi - the Jewish religious leader, similar to a priest or minister
blatt - a section of reading from the Talmad
1. What is happening in Europe that is exciting to the patients in the ward?
2. Why does Reuven need to ask the nurse for permission to pray during his phylactery?
3. Why does Reuven say to Danny, “. . .you can go to hell, and take your whole snooty bunch of Hasidism along with you!”? (pg. 63) In what way is Reuven being unfair to Danny and his team?
4. What rule from the Talmud does Reuven violate when he sends Danny home?
5. While talking to Danny in the hospital, why does Reuven have “the feeling that everything around [him] was out of focus”? (pg. 67)
6. How does Danny learn “two blatt” of Talmud each day?
7. Why is Danny surprised Reuven wants to be a Rabbi? What does Danny want to be?
8. In what way is Reuven partly responsible for his own injury?
9. Why does Reb Saunders not like to write? What does he mean when he says “he wishes everyone could talk in silence”?
10. What is ironic about Danny’s answer that his father is “quite a man”? (pg. 22)
1. State a theme for this story based on the following passage from this chapter:
“I wish I was outside now,” I said. “I envy them being able to walk around like that. They don’t know how lucky they are.”
“No one knows he is fortunate until he becomes unfortunate,” my father said quietyly. “That is the way the world is.”
2. State another theme for this story based on Mr. Malter’s reaction to Reuven’s story of Danny Saunders’ visit.
3. What two things does the Talmud say a person must do for himself? How does Mr. Malter define friendship? Why do you think he wants Reuven and Danny to be friends?
4. State why you agree or disagree with the following statement made by Mr. Savo when he is warning Reuven to be careful about making friends with Danny:
“You’re a good kid. So I’m telling you, watch out for those fanatics. They’re the worse cloppers around.” (pg. 76)
5. What, according to Danny’s father, is a Jew’s mission in life? Why is Danny confused by this idea?
6. Why is Reuven confused about Danny?
7. In what way is Danny’s life similar to Billy’s?
8. How does Danny feel when he first realizes Mr. Malter is the same man who has been suggesting books for him to read in the library? What happens to make Danny comfortable again?
1. Briefly describe Manya.
2. What does the following passage from the novel tell the reader about how Reuven’s experience during the last five days have changed his life?
“I felt I had crossed into another world, that little pieces of my old self had been left behind on the black asphalt floor of the school yard alongside the shattered lens of my glasses. . .I lay very still on the lounge chair and thought a long time about Danny.” (pg. 96)
shofar - a wind instrument made from a ram’s horn
tallit - a shawl for prayer
kabbalah - a book of Jewish mysticism
mitnaged - a sect which opposed the Hasids
1. Briefly describe the relationship between the Jewish people and the nobles of Poland. In what way did the Jews act as a buffer between the nobles and the serfs? How did this position lead to the destruction of the great Jewish community in Poland?
2. What happened to the faith of the Jewish people after the Chmielnicki uprising?
3. Briefly summarize Israel’s (Besht’s) teachings, known as Hasidism.
4. Reuven’s father tells him the story of the evolution of the Hasids. Who is the tzaddik of the Hasidic community? How does the Hasidic movement begin to degenerate? Which kind of Hasidic sect does Danny belong to?
5. Why is the story of Solomon Maimon sad? How is he similar to Danny?
6. The character of Reuven’s father is frequently the author’s voice, stating the themes of the book. He often finishes a statement clarifying a theme with the words, “That is the way the world is.” Find a similar quotation at the end of the chapter. What theme is he summarizing for the reader?
shtibblach - the name for the house of worship in a Hasidic sect
shul - school
ark - an enclosure in a synagogue or temple for the scrolls of the Torah
caftan - a long garment like a jacket
kaddish - a prayer for someone who has died
challah - type of bread
amalek - heathen
b’kuit - simple interpretations of the Talmud
nu - “good," “well,” “continue;” the word has many different connotions; similar to “so”
gematriya - a mystical method of interpretation of the Hebrew scriptures based upon the numerical value of the letters in the words.
Havdalah - a brief service at the end of Shabbat
1. Why is Danny’s uncle, his father’s older brother, not inherit the rabbinical position? How did Reb Saunders save his Hasidic community?
2. Why, according to Danny, did the devotees of Reb Saunders all follow him to America? What is Reuven’s opinion of that?
3. What is the author saying about Danny by using this extended metaphor to compare him to a blind soldier?
“I began to hear, distinctly, the tapping sounds of Danny’s metal-capped shoes. . .and I remembered the old man I often saw walking along Lee Avenue, moving carefully through the busy street and tapping, tapping, his metal-capped cane, which served him for the eyes he had lost in a First World trench during a German gas attack.” (pg. 116)
4. What is “number one on [the Hasidic community’s] catechism? How does the community react when Rabbi Saunders enters the synagogue? What is symbolic about his appearance?
5. Reb Saunders shakes hands with Reuven twice in this chapter. How is the second time different from the first?
6. Briefly describe Danny’s little brother. How does he behave during the service?
7. Who is the Master of the Universe Reb Saunders refers to when he speaks? How can the Master of the Universe fulfill a man’s wishes?
8. List two parts of Reb Saunders’ service that Danny disagrees with?
9. What ritual does Danny endure each week?
10. List one way Reb Saunders approves and one he disapproves of Mr. Malter.
11. Who is Rav Gershenson?
12. In what way does David Malter defend Reb Saunders’ practice of publicly arguing the Talmud with Danny?
13. Find a passage in this chapter where the character of Mr. Malter, while discussing Danny’s training, restates a theme for this novel.
14. What is David Malter’s opinion of Reb Saunders as a leader for his community?
goy - a non-Jew
1. Why is Danny bothered by the history he reads concerning Drov Baer, a man is father considers to be almost a saint?
2. State a theme for this story using the following passage from the novel.
“Your father said I should read a Jewish history. He said the first important step in anyone’s education is to know your own people.” (pg. 147)
3. Cite a passage from this chapter to support or refute the following statement: Not everything you read is true; it is important to understand the biases and limitations of the author.
4. How does Mr. Malter justify his decision to suggest books for Danny without Reb Saunders’ knowledge?
5. List the two ways Rabbincal literature can be studied. Which way does Reuven’s father prefer? In what way is Reuven’s knowledge of the Talmud equal to Danny’s?
6. One of the overall themes in this story is the theme of true friendship. What do you think of Reuven’s decision to answer Reb Saunders’ questions about Danny’s reading? Is he being disloyal? What information about Danny does Reuven not tell Reb Saunders?
7. Find a clue in this chapter that might help the reader understand why Reb Saunders believes in silence.
8. In what way is Reuven a buffer between Reb Saunders and Danny? What lesson from Jewish history lets the reader know that Reuven in in a dangerous position when he becomes a way between Danny and his father?
1. Find the extended metaphor in this chapter about the spider and the fly. How does it relate to Billy, his blindness, and his unsuccessful operation? What does Reuven learn about life from Billy’s situation?
kashruth - the laws applying to food preparation
1. Danny is having difficulties understanding Freud written in its original German. How does he solve his problems with the writings. In what ways might studying Freud contribute to Danny’s reluctance to be his father’s replacement?
2. How does Reuven try to add balance to the new world of knowledge Danny discovers in the library?
1. What is wrong with Danny’s eyes?
2. What major figure dies?
3. How do Danny’s father and Reuven’s father react to the news from Europe that six million Jewish people have been killed in the concentration camps? How does this tragedy help the reader understand their differing opinions on how God wants them to conduct their lives?
4. Why does Reuven go to live with Danny’s family?
1. In what way does Freud contradict the teaching of the Talmud?
2. What ironic element seems to be occurring in the book?
3. Define Zionism.Why is Reb Saunders against the idea of Palestine becoming the homeland for the Jewish people?
4. Why is Danny really concerned about his brother’s health.
5. How does Danny feel about his father?
1. What two pieces of advice does Reuven offer Danny to help him deal with his frustration at college?
2. In what way is Mr. Malter’s method of teaching Reuven the Talmud similar to Professor Appleman’s method of teaching psychology?
3. What is the Irgun? Why does Reuven’s father have mixed feelings about its activities?
4. What is Reuven’s father saying when he tells his son,
“I learned a long time ago, Reuven, that a blink of an eye is in itself nothing. But the eye that blinks, that is something.” (pg. 204)
5. One of the overall themes of this story is friendship. Find a statement in this chapter where Reuven’s father tells his son that good friends can disagree and still remain friends.
6. Why does Danny decide to learn experimental psychology?
7. How does Danny feel about Zionism? Why does he not voice his opinion?
8. Why is Danny not allowed to be seen with Reuven anymore?
rebbes - plural of rabbi
mishna - written rabbinical law
inyan - a Talmudic passage
1. What is the only contact Reuven has with Danny at the beginning of their second year of college? In what way is this contact ironic?
2. Explain the Partition Plan of the United States.Why is Reuven glad he restrains the anger he feels toward the anti-Zionist Hasidic students after this plan is adopted by the United Nations?
3. List the two methods Reuven uses to prepare a passage of the Talmud for Rav Gershenson’s class.
4. Why does Rav Gershenson ask Reuven never to use his father’s method of studying the Talmud in his classroom?
1. After the establishment of the Jewish state, what happens to end the anti-Zionist activities inside the school?
1. How does Reuven feel about Reb Saunders when he meets him again after the ban on his friendship with Danny is lifted? What does Reb Saunders want from Reuven?
1. How does Danny’s understanding of silence change since the last chapter?
2. Why is it important that Danny anticipate the questions Reb Saunders will ask him when he tells his father he wants to be a psychologist?
3. What does Mr. Malter say about “silence” as a method of raising children?
4. Why does Danny not tell his father about the plan to be a psychologist?
5. For what reason is Reuven’s father angry with his son at the end of this chapter?
1. Discuss Reb Saunders reasons for raising Danny in silence. What is ironic about his methods? Are the methods cruel, or correct for a person like Danny?
2. What is the “tortured victory” referred to in the following passage:
“Reb Saunders sat back slowly in his chair. And from his lips came a soft, tremulous sigh. He was silent for a moment, his eyes wide, dark, brooding, gazing upon his son. He nodded his head once, as if in final acknowledgment of his tortured victory.”
3. Why is the following passage ironic:
Reb Saunders looked at me and smiled feebly, nodding his head. “My son, my Daniel, has also become a man. It is a great joy for a father to see his son suddenly become a man.”
Danny stirred faintly in his chair, then was still.
“What will you do after your graduation?” Reb Saunders asked quietly.
“I have another year to student for my smicha.”
“And then what?”
“I am going to the rabbinate.” (pg. 262)
4. In what ways is this novel a coming-of-age, rite-of-passage experience for both Reuven and Danny?
5. Another important theme in this novel is the theme of the importance of the father-son relationship. Compare and contrast the two father-son relationships in this story. Do you believe both fathers have raised their sons to the best of their abilities? How much influence does Reuven’s father have over the kind of man Danny becomes and how much influence does Reb Saunders have over Reuven’s development?
6. Cite incidents from the story to support or refute the following statement: Danny and Reuven will remain life-long friends despite their differences.
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These are the dates these chapters will be discussed/tested.
September 2: Chap 1 (1-31) 31
September 3: Chap 2 (32-53) 19
September 4: Chap 3 (54-72) 18
September 8: Chap 4 (73-92) 19
September 9: Chap 5 (95-99) 4
September 10: Chap 6 (100-111) 11
September 11: Chap 7 (112-148) 37
September 12: Chap 8 (149-170) 23
September 13: Chap 9 - 10 (171-182) 13
September 14: Chap 11 (183-192) 9
September 15: Chap 12 (193-203) 10
September 16: Chap 13 (207-233) 27
September 17: Chap 14 (234-254) 21
September 18: Chap 15 - 16 (255-266) 10
September 19: Chap 17 (267-278) 12
September 20: Chap 18 (279-291) 13
Reader’s Guide Questions
1. One of the central metaphors of The Chosen is combat. How does this metaphor advance the themes of the book?
2. Chaim Potok spoke often of his interest in a core-to-core culture confrontation in his books. What does this mean in The Chosen? What are the essential differences between the Hasidic and the Orthodox Jews?
3. Reb Saunders uses silence as a way of instructing and changing Danny. Why? What causes him to finally communicate with his son?
4. When Danny begins to read widely, what writer/thinker/innovator and what methodology lead him to the path he finally chooses?
5. Reb Saunders’s Hasidic sect is hostile at first to the establishment of the State of Israel. What causes Reb to change his mind?
6. David Malter and Reb Saunders have different opinions about the war in Europe and the fact that 6 million Jews died in death camps. Can you explain how and why they differ?
7. Some people are puzzled by the title. What do you think “The Chosen” means?
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Readings on Citizenship: 21 page PDF
Quotes on Citizenship2 pages PDF
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