The Devils Arithmetic | Teen Ink

The Devils Arithmetic

October 12, 2018
By Emilie105 BRONZE, Lexington, South Carolina
Emilie105 BRONZE, Lexington, South Carolina
1 article 0 photos 0 comments

Favorite Quote:
“God gave us the gift of life, now it is up to us to live it out. “ - voltaire

The devil's arithmetic is a special story in which a little girl is taken to a concentration camp and goes through all of the true horrors of the holocaust. In the beginning of the book, Hannah becomes tired of hearing about how her family had to go through the holocaust and doesn’t really care much about learning about it. Then one day everything changes. Hannah is now Chaya. Hannah time traveled all the way back to the holocaust to see what it was like for her family, however this was not optional for her she was forced to become Chaya. When she was taken by the Nazi guards she and her friends that she made while adjusting to her new life as Chaya, were scared and confused as to what was going on.

In the camp she learns that she knows more about how to escape than she initially thought, but she cannot remember quite what it was. Her memories  of Hannah had faded away already. How would you feel if you were in her situation? Scared? Lonely? Well Hannah wasn’t any of those  , she was strong. In the book you will see how Hannah keeps hope in chapter 12 even though so many other horrible things are still contentiously happening every day.


Chapter 1:

do you have hope? :

The theme of my book The Devil's Arithmeticis “never give up hope”. I chose this theme because in
the camp Hannah doesn’t allow the Nazi soldiers to take away her hope.

Hannah was an average little girl who didn’t really care for any past stories that her family members
had to tell about the holocaust. She became very bored with all of the expectations of having to listen and
pay attention to the same thing over, and over again. Until, one day she finds herself in the middle of the
holocaust with a new life and a new name. Hannah is now Chaya.
Then, one day as she is settling into her new life as Chaya. She and her new family are taken by nazis and
soon placed into a concentration camp. There she had to deal with the lack of food, and water while in the
awful living conditions she is in now.
Once Hannah/Chaya is in the concentration camp, she discovers what life is like for others in the camp. In
the story Chaya states that “ it was like standing in a oven, a oven the smelled of human sweat and urine
and feces.” ( 84 ). Chaya soon discovers that all she has left is hope.

At one time Fayge states that
“You are a name, not a number.....”, she states this after they are told repeatedly that their number is the
only way that they will survive in the concentration camp. She tries to remind everyone there that there is
more to life that just a number, and that they not defined as  a number, they are defined as a person.
Hannah is treated horribly, the German soldiers do everything they can to take her hope away.
Fortunately, she never allowed them too. Hannah/Chaya is still full of hope, and it’s not going anywhere.
One day, a German soldier comes up to Hannah/Chaya and tells her to come with him, she then follows
him unaware of what may happen. The soldier starts to walk towards the “chambers”. Soon enough she
found herself in a dark room with a lot of other Jews. The next thing she knows, she is in her living room
with her whole family, her family then, called by her old name. She starts to talk about the holocaust with one of
her relatives. She finally understand what her family members went through. She went through it, and she
still has her HOPE!

Chapter 2:

why do you care?

   The Devil's Arithmetic is an excellent book to read, yes you have to put some thinking into it but in the end you learn so much. Chaya isn't just a regular girl, she is a hero who made sure that no matter what everyone that she cared about had hope. She did this because of the type of person she is, she didn’t ask for anything back. If Chaya can have hope and be kind to others in a concentration camp, then why can’t other people do kind things while they are walking down the street drinking a Starbucks?That’s why in the real world so many people do good things wanting something back, I’m not saying that all people are rude or inconsiderate, I’m  just saying not all people do nice things for other people without expecting something good to come out of it for themselves.

        That’s the thing, if people are not kind to other people without a motive, then why should the new generation be kind to other people in the future. In the devil's arithmetic, Chaya is the model for a good person. She has so much hope and happiness in the world. Even if she is not in the place she want to be in, she is still kind and civil to others. She doesn’t ask herself “ what’s in it for me “ she says how will this be good for that person? Why can’t other people just be nice? I don’t know the answer to the question, but one day I hope I won’t have to ask it at all.

For instance,  if a soldier in WWII were to be running to take cover when he sees another fellow soldier on the ground wounded. The soldier running to take cover decides to help the fellow soldier to safety. Once the soldier that was running for cover gets home, he discovers that the fellow soldier that he helped was a pastor at a church with 5 kids and a wife. That one little act of kindness allowed both soldiers to return home safely to be with their family’s.

All throughout history soldiers and civilians are risking their lives to save millions and millions of people each day, even if sometimes we don’t deserve it they still do it. Because that is the right thing to do.

Chapter 3:  

Jane Yolen, who is she?:

          Jane Yolen was born on February 11, 1939 in New York City. She  is an American writer of fantasy, science fiction, and children's books. She is best known for the book The Devil's Arithmetic. Jane is also a very well known book editor, she has edited more than 365 books. Her first book was called How Do Dinosaurs Say Goodnight?, this book was a children’s book that was co-authored with Mark Teague. It was published by scholastic. She also got her education from the University of Massachusetts.

      In relation to the devil's arithmetic there is also a movie called the devil's arithmetic Jane Yolen was not involved in the movie, but she states that she is very impressed with the movie itself and she wishes she could have been more involved with it. How did Jane Yolen come up with the idea of the Devil’s Arithmetic?Well, she had been wanting to write a book about the holocaust for a while and after meeting with her publishers, they pushed her to write something that she hasn’t written before, therefore she wrote The Devil's Arithmetic. As Jane Yolen was writing the book, many people did not want to read a book about the Jews, but she continued to write about what she wanted to abound it turned out to be the best book she had ever written. It earned a Nebula Award and a Jewish Book Council Award & Association of Jewish Libraries Sydney Taylor Book Award.


          “Kindness is the language which the deaf can hear and the blind can see”. Be kind everyone can see and hear you when you are not. In the devil's arithmetic, Chaya keeps everyone calm and hopeful. If everyone in the world would act even half as kind as Chaya did, the world would be so much more peaceful. The book The Devil's Arithmetic may be about the holocaust, but if you read in between the lines it is about so much more. Even if you see someone having a hard day; give them a compliment, it will make all a difference in that person's life. So, will you be kind to someone else today? You may want to think about what you are saying next time you are speaking horrible things about someone else or hitting someone in a way that just knocks the confidence out of them. How do they feel when you hit them, would you want to feel that pain? Chaya didn't want to either but she had to, she had to live in the most unsanitary environment anyone could live in, with German soldiers telling her she is worthless and  that the only thing that she is good for is doing work. If Chaya can keep hope , why can’t you?

The author's comments:

This peice took me about 4 days to write and finish, I got a really good grade on it so I figured I’d see what other people think and hopefully get some other readers to read this book. It is super good! Hope you enjoy!

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