In my copy of The Devil’s Arithmetic, page 27 and 28 are about the end of the car ride to Hannah’s grandparents’ apartment in the Bronx, NY where the family will celebrate the Seder meal. Hannah’s brother, Aaron, asks Hannah to tell him a story in order to pass the time in the car from New Rochelle to the Bronx. Hannah tells a harrowing tale of “the walking dead,” which is quite a “gruesome tale.” The story Hannah tells captivates Aaron.
Foreshadowing, of course, indicates something that will happen later in the story. In this case, Hannah’s “real” story (to be revealed later) is about her journey back in time into the Holocaust. The tale of the Holocaust is also a “gruesome tale” about the “walking dead” who are the Jewish people killed in the gas chambers and ovens all over Europe. When Hannah tells this harrowing tale to Aaron, it foreshadows the real events in the concentration camp that Hannah witnesses later. The other irony here is that when Hannah does go back in time, she plays the character of Chaya, who sacrifices herself for Rivka. In this way, Chaya becomes the “walking dead” through Hannah.