What happens to Yitzchak in Chapter 19 of The Devil's Arithmetic by Jane Yolen?

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Noelle Thompson eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Yitzchak is one of the male villagers taken with Chaya/Hannah to the concentration camp by the Nazis in 1942.  The simple answer to your question is that, according to Chapter 19, Yitzchack moves to Israel and devotes his life to the Israeli state; however, in order to understand what happens in Chapter 19, the reader has to understand what happens to Yitzchak in earlier chapters.  The reader should remember Yitzchak as the guest at dinner during Chapter 5 and as the man who attempts escape during Chapter 17.  He is also the father of little Reuven and Tzipporah (who are both killed in the gas chambers).  Yitzchak is part of the escape plot and is the only one who succeeds in escaping.  Hannah is told that Yitzchak only agrees to participate because, due to the death of his children, he “has nothing left.”  It gives Hannah a “measure of hope” when she notices that Yitzchak has escaped because she imagines him running through the forest to freedom.  It is at the end of the story, in Chapter 19, that Hannah’s Aunt Eva finally tells Hannah what happened to Yitzchack.  Yitzchak is one of the few Jewish people who survived the harrowing experience of the Nazi concentration camp.  Yitzchack moves to Israel and devotes himself to the creation of a Jewish state and serves in the Israeli senate.

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The Devil's Arithmetic

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