The next day, Daniel delivers an order of books to a Professor Javier Velázquez because Fermín is too disgusted with the customer’s fascist leanings to go himself, claiming his money is “stained with the blood of innocent virgins.” It’s a beautiful day, and Daniel notices the cars that are becoming more common in the city and posters announcing the arrival of the television in Barcelona. Daniel is intrigued, although Fermín always says that television will be the end of civilization and cause humans to go back to “living in caves” and “medieval savagery.”
While the world of literature seems deeper and often more interesting than the human world, television is presented as even worse than the cinema, a threat not just to the human mind but human civilization as a whole. Throughout the novel Zafón denigrates modern artistic media and methods of communication, suggesting they’re less trustworthy than the tradition of literature and shouldn’t be relied on.
When he arrives at Velázquez’s office, he finds the professor ogling and talking with a young student. Daniel starts to look her over as well, only to realize when she turns around that it’s Bea Aguilar. Beatriz jokes with the professor about how Daniel once insulted her. However, when Velázquez leaves them alone, she asks Daniel if he really doesn’t like her, and suggests that he’s projecting onto her all his animosity for her father. She adds that Tomás is more comfortable among Daniel’s family than his own.
Daniel is forced to reevaluate his dislike for Bea by his abrupt realization of her beauty. Daniel’s worship for Clara was also predicated on her beauty, and his behavior now suggests he hasn’t learned much from the collapse of that relationship. On the other hand, Bea shows her maturity by acutely pointing out that men often express conflicts among each other by their behavior towards the women they perceive as “belonging” to other men.
Daniel asks about her boyfriend, and Bea says that she’s getting married and moving to the remote city of El Ferrol once Pablo finishes military service—but she doesn’t sound particularly excited. Daniel starts making fun of El Ferrol and she gets annoyed and walks away, but Daniel chases after and confesses that he only wants to be friends with her. He convinces her to meet him on Friday so he can show her something about Barcelona she hasn’t seen yet.
Bea is poised on the brink of conventional and conservative womanhood. While she’s obviously depressed about this prospect, she lacks the confidence and resources to strive against it. By accepting Daniel’s friendship, she attempts to escape the influence of one man by turning towards another.