Probably the most important difference between the novel and the movie version is that the movie allows us to see Danny and Reuven as adolescent teenagers interested in having a social life. In the novel, the two boys have endless discussions about religion and philosophy, but they rarely talk about the opposite sex. Danny's lack of interest in anything romantic can be explained by Hasidic marriage customs, in which boys and girls are matched early in life and have no choice about whom they marry. Of course, in the novel, female characters receive less treatment than do male characters. Hasidic Judaism is a patriarchal society wherein women's primary roles are to bear and raise children (admittedly very important roles) and tend to the daily upkeep of the home. The only time women appear in the novel are brief scenes in which Danny's mother and sister are present. Reuven briefly
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