Discussion Topics

(Masterpieces of American Literature)

Is the Judaism that Chaim Potok presents essentially inclusive or exclusive?

What roles do ancestry and tradition play in Potok’s writing? How does Potok use ancestry and tradition to advance his stories thematically?

What would you identify as the main conflict with which Potok’s principal characters are usually forced to deal? Are these conflicts generational, or do they have some other origins? Provide examples.

What role does the concept of guilt play in his stories?

What specific historical events overshadow much of Potok’s writing?

Discuss the roles of women in the writings by Potok that you have read.