What are three different fantasy elements in "The Devil's Arithmetic"?

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linda-allen eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Time travel is certainly an element of fantasy. It's not possible for a 13-year-old girl in the late 1980s to open an apartment door in New York and step into the life of a girl in a village in 1942 Poland.

At first Hannah retains all of her own memories and feelings, but they gradually fade away until she becomes Chaya and word, thought, and deed. At first she barely understands what Gitl and Shmuel are saying to her, but eventually she speaks and thinks Yiddish fluently. This transformation is also a fantastical element in the story.

Another element of fantasy in this novel is the fact that the girl who becomes Chaya's best friend and mentor in the camp is actually her own aunt Eva. Rivka, who changed her name to Eva when she emigrated to the United States, is targeted for execution by the Nazi guards. Suddenly, Hannah's memories return, and Chaya understands that she will live again in the future. So she unselfishly takes Rivka's place in order for her to survive. When Chaya is killed, Hannah returns to her own time, remembering all that has happened to her and with a new appreciation and love for her aunt and grandfather.

I hope this helps.