Notes on The Chosen Themes

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The Chosen Topic Tracking: Intelligentsia

Intelligentsia 1: The yeshiva to which Danny belongs enters the baseball game so that they can prove their physical fitness, along with their high intelligence. It is common knowledge that Hasidic Jews value academics and the study of Talmud over everything else and spend the majority of their time in study and deep learning.

Intelligentsia 2: Because Reuven does not attend a Hasidic yeshiva and studies English subjects in his academic world, the yeshiva boys consider him and his classmates lesser Jews and lesser people.

Intelligentsia 3: For two weeks Reuven is not allowed to use his eyes and read to study. His academic father, therefore, brings in a radio for him to listen to and reads newspapers on current events to him. Reuven is used to reading and studying voraciously and must adapt to this world without direct contact with intelligentsia.

Intelligentsia 4: Danny reveals his secret pastimes and desires. He reads all sorts of literature in the library, from fiction to Freud, during his free time. He wants to become a psychologist, but knows that it is against his family's desires and culture. He is constantly studying to improve his mind and intellect.

Intelligentsia 5: Mr. Malter explains the idea behind public learning to Reuven. Although he disagrees with Reb Saunders specific placement of errors in the sermons, he understands why he tests Danny aloud in front of the conversation. If learning is not made in public, it is a waste, for it is not useful if people do not hear or see the contribution of intellect to the world.

Intelligentsia 6: Danny's intellect soars? as he reads Freud more in depth and teaches himself German so that he can read Freud in its original language. Reuven is not only in shock of Danny's motivation and drive, but also that he would spend so much time learning the language of the Nazis.

Intelligentsia 7: Danny is excited because he discovers how to learn Freud's teachings. He must study it as he studies Talmud, instead of just reading it. He realizes this as he studies Talmud with his father. Again, the only time they communicate is during study - while they use their intellect.

Intelligentsia 8: Although Danny excels in his studies of Talmud, he finds difficulty in his studies of psychology with Professor Appleman. He disagrees with the experimental methods and wants to study Freud. He is only thinking with one side of his brain and eventually learns to use his entire intellect to study psychology in all realms and mediums.

Intelligentsia 9: While Mr. Malter is recovering in the hospital from his second heart attack, Reuven devotes all of his free time to studying Talmud. He uses his mind each night to learn several difficult passages, so that when he is called upon in class, he will provide the professor with intelligent answers. He does so, sparking interest from his fellow classmates and Rav Gershenson.

Intelligentsia 10: Reb Saunders finally accepts Danny's decision to become a psychologist. He asks if he will continue to be an observant Jew as he becomes an intellectual man of prestige. The father and son and friend share a moment together in which they care for one another and the brilliant minds they possess.

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