illustration of main character Hannah opening a door which leads to a barbed wire fence

The Devil's Arithmetic

by Jane Yolen
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The Devil's Arithmetic Questions and Answers

The Devil's Arithmetic

The Devil's Arithmetic begins with Hannah and her mother and then quickly introduces Hannah's brother and father as well. Hannah's mother is concerned with the preservation of their Jewish...

Latest answer posted May 28, 2021, 4:06 pm (UTC)

2 educator answers

The Devil's Arithmetic

The story doesn't take place in only one location. In the present time, the story takes place where Hannah lives, in New Rochelle, NY and when she travels to the Bronx in NYC for Seder. However,...

Latest answer posted August 5, 2009, 10:58 am (UTC)

2 educator answers

The Devil's Arithmetic

The tone of chapter 8 in The Devil's Arithmetic is upbeat, festive, and happy throughout most of the chapter until it then takes a much darker one. At first, the characters are going to a wedding,...

Latest answer posted December 1, 2020, 1:15 pm (UTC)

1 educator answer

The Devil's Arithmetic

In Chapter 6, as her brother is about to get married, Gitl continues to arrange and rearrange the wedding gifts on two wagons as she says "Those schnorrers in Viosk will know we honor our own."...

Latest answer posted May 17, 2016, 2:11 pm (UTC)

1 educator answer

The Devil's Arithmetic

In this poignant novel, Yolen describes her characters' physical appearance in specific, concrete detail. I would argue that this is to help us picture them, feel that we know them, and empathize...

Latest answer posted August 15, 2021, 3:54 pm (UTC)

1 educator answer

The Devil's Arithmetic

In the course of this great novel, Hannah gains first-hand knowledge of the horrors that her family went through during the Holocaust and comes to appreciate the importance of the rituals in which...

Latest answer posted May 17, 2020, 10:32 am (UTC)

4 educator answers

The Devil's Arithmetic

In The Devil's Arithmetic, Hannah Stern, a girl who is bored by stories of the Holocaust, is transported back into the midst of it. She finds herself in 1942 on the border between Poland and...

Latest answer posted April 16, 2021, 12:54 pm (UTC)

1 educator answer

The Devil's Arithmetic

Blokova’s fingers were cut off by the Nazis as punishment for prisoner escapes. The Blokova has only three fingers. She is the leader of the prisoners, but she is a prisoner herself. She lost the...

Latest answer posted April 16, 2013, 2:55 am (UTC)

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The Devil's Arithmetic

First, Gitl is selfless. Instead of focusing on her own needs after the Holocaust ends, she starts a rescue mission for girls in Israel. Second, Gitl is motherly. From the moment she and Hannah...

Latest answer posted August 27, 2019, 8:09 pm (UTC)

4 educator answers

The Devil's Arithmetic

Hannah Stern's entire journey through the past leads her to better understand her family, her heritage, and herself. But, to get a little more specific, there are several key events in The Devil's...

Latest answer posted February 12, 2018, 11:55 pm (UTC)

2 educator answers

The Devil's Arithmetic

At the beginning of the novel, The Devil's Arithmetic, Hannah Stern is ambivalent about attending Passover Seder dinner at Grandma Belle and Grandpa Will's house. Hannah's father is the son of...

Latest answer posted August 18, 2015, 3:41 pm (UTC)

1 educator answer

The Devil's Arithmetic

In Jane Yolen's novel The Devil's Arithmetic, the inmates of the concentration camp retain their links with Jewish folklore. Lilith is an important figure in the early literature of Judaism,...

Latest answer posted April 16, 2021, 7:56 pm (UTC)

1 educator answer

The Devil's Arithmetic

The Passover seder at the start of the book represents freedom, the moon represents the continuity of the universe from one generation to another and numbers represent people exterminated during...

Latest answer posted June 23, 2020, 4:43 pm (UTC)

1 educator answer

The Devil's Arithmetic

I would describe Hannah as a character who changes during the course of this coming-of-age novel. Hannah does, however, have one trait that remains: her stubbornness. At the beginning, Hannah is...

Latest answer posted May 26, 2016, 9:55 am (UTC)

1 educator answer

The Devil's Arithmetic

Grandpa Will gets very upset when discussing the war or seeing Nazi soldiers on television because his experience as a prisoner in the concentration camp during World War II was as horrific as can...

Latest answer posted February 26, 2010, 7:51 am (UTC)

1 educator answer

The Devil's Arithmetic

As stated above, foreshadowing can be anything that gives a hint that something will happen later in a story. There are many examples of this throughout The Devil's Arithmetic. When Hannah goes...

Latest answer posted September 21, 2018, 5:33 pm (UTC)

2 educator answers

The Devil's Arithmetic

In the novel, The Devil's Arithmetic by Jane Yolen, Chaya is the girl Hannah becomes when she is transported in time back into World War II and the Holocaust. In modern time, Hannah does not...

Latest answer posted May 2, 2012, 12:03 pm (UTC)

1 educator answer

The Devil's Arithmetic

The Devil's Arithmetic is the story of Hannah Stern. Hannah is a twelve year old and wants nothing to do with the past. Hannah is on her way with her parents and brother, to her grandparents house...

Latest answer posted January 23, 2015, 3:51 pm (UTC)

2 educator answers

The Devil's Arithmetic

Blokova refers to a prisoner who has been tasked with managing other prisoners. Typically, blokovas were non-Jewish prisoners. This is a tenuous position to have. On one hand, it grants a small...

Latest answer posted April 17, 2021, 5:53 pm (UTC)

1 educator answer

The Devil's Arithmetic

I would say that the concept of the "devil's arithmetic" is used in two specific ways in Yolen's work. One way in which the concept is used is to explain how survival is possible in the camp. For...

Latest answer posted December 29, 2010, 12:47 am (UTC)

1 educator answer

The Devil's Arithmetic

The obvious major conflict of The Devil's Arithmetic is the Holocaust. Through the story, the protagonist, Hannah, finds herself transported into a period when the Nazi government was...

Latest answer posted April 12, 2019, 4:55 pm (UTC)

4 educator answers

The Devil's Arithmetic

In Jane Yolen's The Devil's Arithmetic, Fayge is engaged to Hannah/Chaya's uncle Shmuel. On their wedding day, however, the Nazis arrives and deport the Jews to concentration camps. Shmuel and...

Latest answer posted April 18, 2021, 5:20 pm (UTC)

1 educator answer

The Devil's Arithmetic

The setting of a story can refer to both its time and place. The Devil's Arithmetic is an interesting story in that these aspects of it change dramatically over the course of the story. The first...

Latest answer posted April 17, 2021, 3:58 pm (UTC)

1 educator answer

The Devil's Arithmetic

The literary term you're referring to is called foreshadowing. Foreshadowing occurs when an author hints at events that are to come. Authors use this technique to build suspense. Think of them like...

Latest answer posted April 26, 2017, 3:07 pm (UTC)

2 educator answers

The Devil's Arithmetic

Actually Hannah does not die in The Devil's Arithmetic by Jane Yolen. Chaya is the one who perishes. Hannah is a young girl in modern times who is mysteriously taken back to war torn Europe during...

Latest answer posted November 5, 2015, 8:59 pm (UTC)

1 educator answer

The Devil's Arithmetic

The badchan’s “quick observation” that you speak of is incredibly insightful. A badchan is a sort of hired comic or court jester who entertains at upper-class Jewish occasions. As indicated in...

Latest answer posted May 27, 2016, 6:20 pm (UTC)

1 educator answer

The Devil's Arithmetic

Arguably the most important symbol in The Devil's Arithmetic is that of the swallow. Hannah notices the swallows outside the concentration camp flying, singing, and hunting for insects. The birds...

Latest answer posted May 13, 2020, 2:08 pm (UTC)

1 educator answer

The Devil's Arithmetic

Gitl and Shmuel react to Hannah's ravings about being from New Rochelle with surprise. However, they cover up their initial shock with indulgent humor. Both Shmuel and Gitl think of Hannah as...

Latest answer posted February 8, 2019, 10:09 pm (UTC)

2 educator answers

The Devil's Arithmetic

To answer this question you might find it helpful to compare Hannah at the beginning of the story with Hannah at the end, after she has had her experience of what the reality of concentration camps...

Latest answer posted February 4, 2011, 9:09 am (UTC)

1 educator answer

The Devil's Arithmetic

A rendar is an official or landlord. Either way, a rendar is usually an authority figure. Accordingly, a rendar can preside over an estate but may not own it. In ancient usage, he may lease the...

Latest answer posted November 9, 2018, 9:30 pm (UTC)

2 educator answers

The Devil's Arithmetic

The answer to your question is actually fairly simple and steeped in Jewish culture (especially in reference to the Passover meal). It is a part of the Passover ritual to have the family open the...

Latest answer posted January 26, 2016, 9:19 pm (UTC)

1 educator answer

The Devil's Arithmetic

In real life, a shtetl is a small Jewish community in Eastern Europe. In The Devil's Arithmetic, the main character, Hannah, goes back in time, as Chaya, and meets her aunt and uncle, Gitl and...

Latest answer posted September 21, 2018, 5:16 pm (UTC)

2 educator answers

The Devil's Arithmetic

Hannah says this quotation during the rising action of The Devil’s Arithmetic when she finds herself immersed in the life of the concentration camp during the Holocaust in the 1940s. Within the...

Latest answer posted May 24, 2016, 9:50 am (UTC)

1 educator answer

The Devil's Arithmetic

The moon symbolizes the consistency of the external world. It serves as a fixture to alert Hannah that she is away from her home of New Rochelle and in a very different world, time, and place, and...

Latest answer posted May 23, 2020, 6:09 pm (UTC)

1 educator answer

The Devil's Arithmetic

The answer to your question can be found in chapter nine of The Devil’s Arithmetic. No, Hannah does not believe the Nazi soldiers when they show up at the Jewish synagogue and announce that the...

Latest answer posted May 26, 2016, 9:45 am (UTC)

2 educator answers

The Devil's Arithmetic

The main idea of The Devil's Arithmetic is expressed through main character Hannah Stern. Hannah is a Jewish girl who lives in New York, but she is not religious nor devout to her faith and...

Latest answer posted February 10, 2014, 10:56 pm (UTC)

1 educator answer

The Devil's Arithmetic

Chaya/Hannah realized that Rivka holds the memories. Rivka told Chaya earlier in the story that the survivors had to hold the memories of those who came before and had passed away. Rivka had been...

Latest answer posted August 26, 2010, 3:32 am (UTC)

1 educator answer

The Devil's Arithmetic

Chapter 15 opens with a warning that the Commandant is coming. The women in the camp make "a penetrating clucking noise" in response, and the children of the camp, who are not supposed to be...

Latest answer posted January 28, 2009, 8:27 am (UTC)

1 educator answer

The Devil's Arithmetic

In Chapter 5, Hannah wakes up and finds she is still in Poland in 1942. She meets Shmuel, who shares with her his nervousness at his upcoming marriage. During breakfast, Yitzchak, an older man...

Latest answer posted May 17, 2008, 2:48 am (UTC)

1 educator answer

The Devil's Arithmetic

Hannah reacts with disdain at the dress Gitl brings out for her. The dress is a blue sailor-suit with an accompanying sash in the same color. It sports white piping at the sleeves and collar....

Latest answer posted March 29, 2019, 12:39 pm (UTC)

2 educator answers

The Devil's Arithmetic

In chapter 14, Hannah explains to Shifre and Rivka that whenever Commander Breuer comes to inspect the camp, all the children under fourteen years of age have to disappear. Children under fourteen...

Latest answer posted April 17, 2021, 11:24 am (UTC)

1 educator answer

The Devil's Arithmetic

In chapter 13 of the novel, Hannah notices in the sky above her "a quartet of swallows ... twittering madly." In chapter 18, she notices them again and is momentarily transfixed by them. She...

Latest answer posted April 18, 2021, 11:22 am (UTC)

2 educator answers

The Devil's Arithmetic

The Devil's Arithmetic has one clear protagonist, Hannah. Her journey and personal growth is the central focus of the book. She really evolves from beginning to end. When we think of a protagonist...

Latest answer posted April 6, 2016, 2:16 am (UTC)

1 educator answer

The Devil's Arithmetic

In speaking about the plot of The Devil’s Arithmetic (or any other literary work), we should speak about six specific things: exposition, inciting incident/conflict, rising action, climax, falling...

Latest answer posted May 24, 2016, 9:35 am (UTC)

1 educator answer

The Devil's Arithmetic

Unfortunately, yes, Yente does die. One of the four girls that Hannah/Chaya meets before Shmuel's wedding, Yente perishes in a concentration camp along with two of the other three girls, Shifre and...

Latest answer posted October 30, 2019, 8:20 am (UTC)

1 educator answer

The Devil's Arithmetic

When readers first meet Rivka in the concentration camp, she tries to reassure Hannah, Esther, and Shifre. She tells the others not to be afraid during the night because "any 'Choosing' is done...

Latest answer posted April 17, 2021, 3:18 pm (UTC)

1 educator answer

The Devil's Arithmetic

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...

Latest answer posted June 25, 2016, 4:27 am (UTC)

1 educator answer

The Devil's Arithmetic

Without a specific location in the story, this question is wide open because Hannah faces far more than a single problem over the course of the novel. An initial problem in Hannah's mind is her...

Latest answer posted May 16, 2019, 5:54 pm (UTC)

2 educator answers

The Devil's Arithmetic

Shmuel is at first nonplussed when Hannah says that she comes from New Rochelle, New York. When Hannah persists, however, insisting that New Rochelle was her former home, he and Gitl attribute her...

Latest answer posted April 24, 2009, 2:01 pm (UTC)

1 educator answer

The Devil's Arithmetic

In my edition of "Devil's Arithmetic", there is only an Epilogue remaining after Chapter 19, which is briefly summarized in the last link referenced below. (The edition I am using is the...

Latest answer posted August 23, 2008, 1:22 am (UTC)

1 educator answer

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