The Chosen: Novel Summary: Chapter 4

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Chapter 4

Summary
Reuven's father visits, bringing the news that Reuven will be able to leave the hospital in a few days, but he will not be allowed to read for ten days. Reuven is relieved that he will not have to spend a Shabbat (Sabbath) in the hospital. Reuven tells his father about Danny's visit, and Malter asks him to make Danny his friend.
After Malter leaves, Mr. Savo inquires about Reuven's father and about Danny. He warns Reuven to be wary of fanatics, which he assumes Danny, because of his appearance, to be.
The next day, the curtains are drawn around Mr. Savo's bed, although Reuven does not know what is wrong. He gets out his tefillin and prays for Mr. Savo. Later that day, Danny visits, wearing his characteristic dark suit, dark skull cap and fringes showing below his jacket. They are both pleased to see each other, and agree to go outside to the hall, where they can talk without disturbing Mr. Savo. Danny lets slip that his father never talks to him except when they study. He also tells Reuven that he reads a lot of books that his father would not approve of, such as Charles Darwin. He also reads Hemingway, which his father would not approve of either. He reads a lot because he gets bored studying Talmud all the time. He met a man at the library who recommends books for him to read.
Reuven is amazed to hear this, since it is not at all what he would have expected. To him, Danny sounds more like an apikoros than a Hasid. He notes how sad Danny seems, and Danny admits that he is not going to like being a rabbi, but he has no choice in the matter. The family expects it and the members of the sect expect it. Danny's family has supplied their rabbis for six generations.
Reuven talks about his interest in mathematical logic, also called symbolic logic. Danny has never heard of it, and wonders if it is taught in Reuven's high school. Reuven says it is not; he reads it in his own time.
Reuven's father arrives, and Danny seems amazed and disconcerted to meet him. It quickly transpires that Malter is the man who recommends books to Danny in the library.
The next day, the curtain has been drawn back from Mr. Savo's bed, and he appears to be all right, although it turns out that he has had one eye removed. Billy has gone; he is having an operation on his eyes. Reuven prays for him. Later that morning, Dr. Snydman removes the bandage from Reuven's eye. He thinks there will be no problem with scar tissue. Reuven's father comes and takes his son home.
Analysis
While Reuven continues to make his recovery, this chapter reveals more of Danny. The approaching conflict in his life is clear to see. Reuven astutely observes that the way Danny looks and what he wears do not seem to match the way he acts and talks. Danny is a member of a fundamentalist religious sect but he appears more broad-minded and intellectually curious than might be expected of him. He reads voraciously, but he has to do it in secret, because his father would not approve of the books he selects (or are selected for him). His situation is made more critical because of the burden of expectation that the Hasidic sect, and his father, place on him. He will inherit the position of leader of the sect, but it is already plain that he cannot restrict himself to their narrow beliefs. Reuven does not fully understand Danny's situation yet, but his father does. He senses Danny's loneliness, and this is why he insists that Reuven makes a friend of him.

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