How do Gitl and Shumel react to Hannah's ravings about her coming from New Rochelle, New York in The Devil's Arithmetic?
Gitl and Shmuel think first that Hannah is talking about a street of Lunan, and then that she is joking.
Naturally, Gitl and Shmuel are not going to think that Hannah is telling the truth. They think she is Chiya, from Lublin. It makes no sense that she would say that she is American, or from New Rochelle.
At first, Shmuel is concerned and a little disturbed by Hannah’s behavior, and her insistence that she is not Chaya.
“Lublin is a big place, I am sure,” Shmuel said, scratching his beard with a gathering urgency. “And, surely, I am not familiar with every avenue and street, having been there only twice in my life.” (ch 5, p. 34)
He finally decides she is joking, and just trying to get his mind off the wedding and “marriage fears.”
Hannah does not really realize the situation she is in, at this point. She is not playing along, and is getting more nervous and frustrated. At first she might make those around her uncomfortable, but they will find ways to explain it away.