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What is the plot of The Devil's Arithmetic?I really like this book but i need to know...

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ashlinessa | Student, Grade 9 | eNotes Newbie

Posted December 13, 2008 at 2:38 PM via web

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What is the plot of The Devil's Arithmetic?

I really like this book but i need to know the plot of it. Thanks =)

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akannan | Middle School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted July 7, 2009 at 6:23 AM (Answer #1)

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Hannah is a modern adolescent.  She lives in an affluent suburb of New Rochelle.  She practices the Judaic traditions but does so by "going through the motions."  She is more concerned with the triviality of adolescence and the mere mention of her ethnicity and its past bores her.  During one Seder dinner, Hannah is asked to open the door of a closet as a symbolic gesture to the prophet Elijah.  Hannah does so begrudgingly and in the process is transported to Nazi occupied Poland where everyone says she is Chaya, a recently ill girl.  Hannah, now Chaya, despite all protests, must live the life of a Jewish person in Poland under the Nazi reign.  She receives a first hand account of what her ancestors endured, and in the process, understands the struggle involved in her past.  Hannah/ Chaya learns lessons of resistance, strength, and commitment to one's ideals.  In a moment of conflict, she must sacrifice her own life for someone who is not related to her, but is connected to her and her own predicament.  Through this process, she understands all that she has taken for granted and is reminded of the importance of connection and appreciation of the past.

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