In chapter 6 of The Devil's Arithmetic, why is Hannah popular with the girls from the shtetl?

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schulzie eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The girls believe that Hannah has come from Lublin, a big city compared to their shtetl. This fascinates them.  They want to hear all about life in the big city. They believe that her name is Chaya, and she has been terribly ill with a disease. 

"Ten weeks in the hospital, and no one here knowing.  but she promised we would meet you.....And here you are!" (pg 47)

Hannah does not know how to react to these girls, but they are full of questions about Lublin. Hannah doesn't know Lublin, so she tells them stories of her home in New Rochelle without mentioning the name New Rochelle.  She tells them,

"I live in a house that has eight rooms and the toilets are inside the house.  One upstairs and one downstairs." (pg 48)

They girls are amazed and impressed.  She then tells them that she goes to school during the week, but she goes to the mall on the weekends.  The girls have NO idea what a mall is.

"Only boys are allowed to go to school here.  I always wanted to go." (pg 49)

This amazes Hannah because she never wanted to go to school.  The girls then talk about a story they heard of a girl who went to school dressed as a boy.  Hannah had seen the movie Yentl and knew the story.  Esther comments that she had heard of movies, but none of them had ever seen one. 

The chapter ends with the girls begging Hannah for the story of Yentl.

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The Devil's Arithmetic

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