## The Devil's Arithmetic Questions and Answers

The Devil's Arithmetic

### What are the character traits of the main characters in The Devil's Arithmetic (Hannah/Chaya, Rivka, Shmuel, Gitl,...

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...

The Devil's Arithmetic

### Where did the story take place?

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,...

The Devil's Arithmetic

### What is the tone of chapter 8 in 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,...

The Devil's Arithmetic

### In The Devil's Arithmetic by Jane Yolen, why does Gitl insist on bringing all the gifts to the wedding if they are...

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."...

The Devil's Arithmetic

### What do the characters look like in 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...

The Devil's Arithmetic

### In The Devil's Arithmetic, how does Hannah change from the beginning to the end?

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...

The Devil's Arithmetic

### Who is Shmuel in 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...

The Devil's Arithmetic

### How did Blokova lose her 2 fingers in 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...

The Devil's Arithmetic

### What are six traits for Gitl in 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...

The Devil's Arithmetic

### What are the most important events in 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...

The Devil's Arithmetic

### What is Hannah's relation with her mother, aunt and grandfather?

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...

The Devil's Arithmetic

### What is Lilith's Cave in 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,...

The Devil's Arithmetic

### What are some symbols in 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...

The Devil's Arithmetic

### How would you describe the main character, Hannah, in 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...

The Devil's Arithmetic

### In the book The Devil's Arithmetic, why does Grandpa Will get upset when discussing the war or seeing Nazi soldiers...

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...

The Devil's Arithmetic

### What are two examples of foreshadowing in 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...

The Devil's Arithmetic

### Who is Chaya supposed to be in 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...

The Devil's Arithmetic

### Malach ha-mavis is a Yiddish word meaning what?

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...

The Devil's Arithmetic

### What does "blokova" mean?

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...

The Devil's Arithmetic

### What are two ways that the term "the devil's arithmetic" is used in the book?

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...

The Devil's Arithmetic

### What is the major conflict in 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...

The Devil's Arithmetic

### What happens to Fayge in 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...

The Devil's Arithmetic

### What is the setting in 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...

The Devil's Arithmetic

### What is the literary term for this technique of hinting at things to come, such as when Aaron smiles up at Hannah in...

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...

The Devil's Arithmetic

### How does Hannah die in the book The Devil's Arithmetic by Jane Yolen?

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...

The Devil's Arithmetic

### In The Devil's Arithmetic, what quick observation does the badchan make of Hannah?

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...

The Devil's Arithmetic

### What is the symbolism in 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...

The Devil's Arithmetic

### 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 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...

The Devil's Arithmetic

### In The Devil's Arithmetic, what lessons did Hannah learn from her experiences in the concentration camp?

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...

The Devil's Arithmetic

### In chapter 15 of The Devil's Arithmetic, what is a rendar?

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...

The Devil's Arithmetic

### Why does the family open the door to admit the prophet Elijah?

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...

The Devil's Arithmetic

### In the novel The Devil's Arithmetic, where do Gitl and Shmuel live?

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...

The Devil's Arithmetic

### In The Devil's Arithmetic, why does Hannah say, "Thinking is dangerous. In this place she would not think, only do"?

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...

The Devil's Arithmetic

### What does the moon symbolize on page 13 and page 20 of 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...

The Devil's Arithmetic

### Does Hannah believe the explanation the Nazis give for wanting the villagers to get on the truck in The Devil's...

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...

The Devil's Arithmetic

### In The Devil's Arithmetic what makes Hannah go back in time to Poland?

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...

The Devil's Arithmetic

### What makes Hannah/Chaya decide that she has to take Rivka's place, when Rivka was about to be sent into the gas...

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...

The Devil's Arithmetic

### What is the summary for Chapter 15 of "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...

The Devil's Arithmetic

### Can I get a chapter summary from Chapters 5-8 in "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...

The Devil's Arithmetic

### What is Hannah's reaction to the dress Gitl gives her in The Devil's Arithmetic by Jane Yolen?

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....

The Devil's Arithmetic

### What does "midden" mean in 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...

The Devil's Arithmetic

### What do the swallows symbolize in 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...

The Devil's Arithmetic

### What acts as protagonist and antagonist in 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...

The Devil's Arithmetic

### What is the plot of 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...

The Devil's Arithmetic

### Does Yente die?

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...

The Devil's Arithmetic

### Who is Rivka at the end of the book?

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...

The Devil's Arithmetic

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

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...

The Devil's Arithmetic

### What problem does Hannah face?

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...

The Devil's Arithmetic

### How do Gitl and Shmuel react to Hannah telling them she comes from New Rochelle, NY in 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...

The Devil's Arithmetic

### What happens in Chapter 20-end in "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...

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