Why did the author write this particular story?Such as : What was the point she was hoping I would see? What was the importance to the author? What did she want to influence in me?

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Ashley Kannan eNotes educator| Certified Educator

It is not surprising to see that Yolen wanted to create a testament to how the horrors of the Holocaust should not repeated.  Yolen was convinced by one of her editors who is a wife to a Rabbi that that she should undertake the challenges of writing a book about the Holocaust.  On her website, Yolen writes that, "Writers and storytellers are the memory of a civilization, and we who are alive now really must not forget what happened in that awful time or else we may be doomed to repeat it."  This is a very compelling thought because it reflects how history and social context plays a role around the creation of all art.  Yolen's work is no exception.  In writing it, the primary motivation seems to be reaching out to younger audiences in attempting to bring to light the horrors of the Holocaust and to galvanize a commitment that such a period will not be repeated.  To this end, it is not surprising to see that the protagonist is a young person who repudiates her past until she is forced to relive it.  Yolen's purpose seems to have been accomplished as her book is considered to be a benchmark of Young Adult literature in regards to the Holocaust.

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The Devil's Arithmetic

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