In The Devil's Arithmetic by Jane Yolen, where is Hannah's hometown? 

In The Devil's Arithmetic by Jane Yolen, where is Hannah's hometown?


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litteacher8 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Hannah is from New Rochelle, which is in Upstate New York.

New Rochelle is a city in Upstate New York. It is common for people to live in New Rochelle and make the commute to the city. New Rochelle is in Westchester County, New York.

In the first chapter, we learn that Hannah lives in New Rochelle, but her grandparents live in the Bronx, which is in New York City. It doesn’t take long to get from one to the other, so she probably sees her grandparents often. You can also use public transportation, but in this chapter her family uses a car.

It wasn't a particularly long trip from New Rochelle to the Bronx, where her grandparents lived, but the car was overheated as usual and Aaron complained the entire way. (Ch. 1)

When Hannah gets magically transported to the past and becomes Chaya from Lublin, she sometimes misses New Rochelle and her old life, with her old identity. She gets particularly frustrated trying to explain to everyone that she is from New Rochelle and not Lublin. They are impressed that she is from Lublin and not a tiny village, which annoys Hannah because New Rochelle is a significantly sized city.

Hannah could feel her voice getting louder, like Aaron's when he was scared, and a panic feeling was gripping her chest. "New Rochelle is, too, a city. It's in New York." (Ch. 5)

Hannah has more surprises in store for her, but the difference between mid-twentieth century village life in Europe and city life in modern America definitely catches her attention. She has decided to play along, and pretend to be the person everyone thinks she is. She really has no choice, since she has no idea why she is there or what she is there to learn.

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The Devil's Arithmetic

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