Is Courage a good theme for "The Devil's Arithmetic" ?I'm writing a paper about one of the main themes in "The Devil's Arithmetic", and I was just wondering if Courage is a good theme to talk about.

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Ashley Kannan eNotes educator| Certified Educator

I think that courage could be a theme discussed in Yolen's work.  The idea of Hannah/ Chaya having the courage to embrace several realities would be where I would spend some time in analyzing.  The first of these would be the actual moment of opening the door.  Even though, her thoughts about it are more of simply ritual and doing what is expected, there is a certain level of wonderment that is present in such an action.  Her going through it to enter the historical setting of life during the Holocaust is an instant where courage is needed.  The fact that she changes her perception in beginning to better understand what the realities confronting her are and how she ends up sacrificing for people represents her development of character that could be described as courageous.  Certainly, much of this is thrust upon her.  Yet, she does embrace it and understands it to the point where she does not feel awkward about her identity and ethnicity.  Rather, she fulfills and honors it with a definite level of courage.