The Chosen Chapter 8
Reuven can hardly believe only one week has passed since the baseball incident, for everything in his life seems different. When he arrives at school, he is somewhat of a local hero for the team, and he revisits the scene of the crime, envisioning Danny as the 'cruel murderer' he used to be in his mind and still remains in the minds of his classmates. He walks to the library and sees Danny reading within the walls, deeply entrenched in literature. "He was reading with phenomenal speed. I could almost see him read. He would start at the head of a page, his head tilted slightly upward, and then his head would move downward in a straight line until he got to the foot of the page" Chapter 8, p. 153.
Reuven watches Danny read, for he is still unable to read because of his healing eye. He closes his eyes to review mathematical logic, as Danny comes up to him and amiably teasing him of sleeping...yet again. A shocked Danny reads a passage to Reuven from Graetz's History of the Jews, about the harsh and disgusting representation of Hasidim. Danny is disturbed by the negative impression of his people and defends his father's divine presence and reputation. He explains Freud and psychoanalysis to Reuven, divulging the fact that he is learning German so that he can read the information in its native language. Reuven cannot understand why Danny would teach himself German. Danny explains that it is not an evil language simply because Hitler speaks it. Reuven discusses his afternoon in the library with his father, who is concerned about giving Danny books to read behind his father's back and how difficult it must be to read such vulgarity about himself in texts.
Danny and Reuven continue to meet in the library and spend the following Shabbat together with his father studying Pirkei Avot, learning passages from the rabbis. Reuven meets Danny's mother and then Danny and his father embark again on the journey through the public games of quizzing, while Reuven watches silently. After their deep exercise is complete, Reb Saunders asks Danny to get them tea. While he has Reuven alone, he states that he knows all about Danny's visits to the library. He wants Reuven to tell him what he reads, since he does not and cannot ask Danny himself.
"I saw frozen and felt a long moment of blind panic. What my father had anticipated was now actually happening. But he hadn't anticipated it happening to me. He had thought Reb Saunders would confront him, not me. My father and I had acted behind Reb Saunders' back; now Reb Saunders was asking me to act behind Danny's back. I didn't know what to say." Chapter 8, p.167
Reb Saunders praises God for giving him such a blessed and brilliant son, but simply worries about him losing his place. He has a rich ancestry that he must live up to, in addition to his phenomenal intellect. Danny returns and feels the tension in the room, knowing that something has happened between his friend and his father. As Danny walks Reuven home, Reuven tells him everything that happened. Danny feels better, knowing now that he won't have to sneak around the librarybut further explains that he wishes his father could ask him instead of Reuven. Danny loses his temper when he tries to explain that he and his father never speak, except during Talmud study. He is brought up completely in silence.
When Reuven tells his father about his Shabbat and the silence between Danny and his father, Mr. Malter is surprised, for he has heard of such a practice...but did not believe that it truly existed.