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Hannah’s experience is an example of dramatic irony. She knows how everything is going to end, and the reader knows, but the other characters do not. There is only so much Hannah can do with this knowledge though. Although she knows what is going to happen when she gets on the train, there is really little she can do about it. This is one case where knowledge is not necessarily power. The people on the train know the broad strokes. Most of them realize they are about to die. Hannah’s knowing this does not really help her, and their knowing it does not help them.
Even though Hannah has had her history lessons, she likely knows less about how to survive the day to day life under the Nazis that the people there. She soon realizes that she has to listen to them, and do what they do, if she is going to survive. Thus when they reach the camp and she sees the children hiding, she realizes that the Nazis and their prisoners are playing a cruel game, but the people have found ways to survive.
Knowing how the story ends, that the Nazis will eventually be defeated and the camps will be liberated, is not enough to help Hannah. She does know that she was named after the brave friend who saved her mother by taking her place, and so this is what Hannah does, ironically ensuring her own survival.
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