What are some quotes from The Devil's Arithmetic that show an example of a contrast and a contradiction?

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Noelle Thompson eNotes educator| Certified Educator

There are definitely both contrasts and contradictions contained in The Devil’s Arithmetic.  A contrast is simply a presentation of two things that are different.  On the other hand, a contradiction is a statement that is in opposition to one already said. 

A good contrast can be seen when Hannah leaves the present day and enters 1942.  In this scene, Hannah opens the door and does not see the hallway that she expects.  Instead she sees an open field.

[Hannah no longer sees] the doors to the other apartments, but instead a greening field and a lowering sky.

The two things being contrasted here are the apartment hallway and the “greening field.”  One is inside and one is outside.  One is in the 1980s and one is in 1942.  One is in the city and one is in the country.  As you can see, many contrasts can be found within this one example.

A contradiction can be seen between the words of the Rabbi and the words of the badchan when the Jewish people are herded out of the boxcars and into the concentration camp.

“See? ... we are in God’s hands. We are not afraid of work,” but the badchan whispers, “This is the Devil’s work, not God’s.”

The contradiction here is between what the Rabbi says and what the badchan says.  The Rabbi, always trying to be optimistic, insists this is God’s work.  The badchan, always trying to be sarcastic and even pessimistic, insists this is the Devil’s work.  This is a direct contradiction.

 

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The Devil's Arithmetic

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