What is the plot of The Devil's Arithmetic?

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mkcapen1 | Middle School Teacher | (Level 3) Valedictorian

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The Book "The Devil's Arithmetic" written by Jane Yolen in 1988.  The book is about Hannah, a young Jewish girl  living in modern day America.  She is preparing for a family Seder (dinner) with her family.  Her aunt Eva is coming to dinner.  She was named after her aunts good friend who died int he concentration camp where her aunt and the girl had been imprisoned during the Holocaust.

On the evening of the dinner, Hannah is magically transported back into Poland when she opens the door as part of the ceremony to allow in the prophet Elijah.  The year is 1942 and everyone believes her to be Chaya who is recovering from an illness.   She finds herself in the village of her ancestors.  The village is raided and the Jews are collected and forced to live in a concentration camp. She must learn to survive and relinquish her teenage selfish ways.  She exhibits concern for others.  She becomes best friends with a girl named Eva.

Hannah in an act of self-sacrifice exchanges places with Eva who is sick.  She is taken to the gas chambers to be put to death.  She has saved Eva, who in the future will be her special Aunt Eva.  When the doors close to the gas chambers and she prepares to die she is suddenly at the door in modern times.  She has a new respect for the history of the Holocaust and what her Aunt Eva and others what the Jews had endured.  She also realizes why it is important never to forget the atrocities of what happened to the Jewish people.   She is no longer the self-centered girl she had been before the Holocaust.

shakaylameg's profile pic

shakaylameg | Student, Grade 9 | eNotes Newbie

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to teach a young girl a lesson of being in the past. and to know what the nazis atually did to the jews.

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