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Danny Saunders, a young, intelligent Hasidic Jew, is the main protagonist of the novel. Throughout the book, he suffers from his father's silence. He also longs to become a psychologist, rather than to follow in his father's footsteps and become a rabbi, as expected. He becomes close friends with Reuven and his father. Both of them help him on his journey to find himself.
Danny's antagonist is really himself. The novel is a coming of age story in which Danny must learn to accept his Hasidic family and his place in it. Because Danny's father has raised him in silence, he feels rejected, resentful, and confused for most of the novel.
The climax of the story occurs in the last chapter. Using Reuven as a go-between, Reb Saunders reveals that he knows of his son's desire to become a psychologist rather than a rabbi, as expected of him by Hasidism. Although he is disappointed in the decision, he accepts it and will not try to stop him. Danny is speechless over the news and openly weeps with joy and relief.
The story ends in comedy, for Danny knows who he is and what he wants in life. Additionally, the silence barrier between Danny and his father has been permanently broken, and Danny is granted permission to pursue his career as a psychologist. It is obvious that his father has cared for him deeply through the silence and directed his son away from his rebellious tendencies.