The Theme Of Dehumanization In The Devil's Arithmetic

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The Book is Always Better than the Movie The Holocaust was a genocide that occurred almost one hundred years ago. As the number of survivors dwindles, it’s become more necessary than ever to remember. Books, documentaries, and other forms of media are one of the best ways to preserve history. However, some books and films are more true to history than others. Jane Yolen’s The Devil’s Arithmetic more aptly delivers the message of remembrance than Donna Deitch’s film adaptation of The Devil’s Arithmetic as seen through dehumanization, portrayed violence, and relationships. Dehumanization was a constant at the camp. Any Jew was considered subhuman. For instance, Rivka states, “I call them Every Bowls because they are everything to us, without…show more content…
For instance, Fayge and Shmuel’s relationship leads to a heroic sacrifice for love. The novel states that “Fayge pushed through the crowd, flinging herself at his feet. He bent down and kissed the top of her head as the guns roared, a loud volley that drowned out birdsong and wind and screams.” These deaths in novel ensure that sacrifices similar to Fayge and Shmuel’s will be honored. Deitch believes that because she included Hannah's sacrifice for her cousin Rivka that she is staying true to the original text. But in the film when Hannah wakes up in Rivka’s village, Rivka says, “I’m your cousin Rivka.” Hannah’s sacrifice in the movie had a family obligation attached to it, unlike the selfless one Yolen includes in her novel. Additionally, Rivka and Hannah’s relationship in the film considerably alters the course of their life in the camp. Because Rivka is her cousin, she was not there to give Hannah the rules to live by in the camp. In the novel when Hannah and Rivka meet, Rivka tells her to, “Never stand next to someone with a G in her number. She is a Greek— and Greeks do not speak Yiddish and do not understand German. . . Read the numbers. . . My lower number tells you I can organize things. . . And you must never go near that. We call that the door to Lilith's Cave.” Hannah would not have survived in the camp…show more content…
The film adaptation of The Devil’s Arithmetic is a watered down version of the Holocaust that gives viewers a false perception of what life was like in the concentration camps. If society preserves history in an accurate way, there may not be another mass genocide such as the Holocaust. However, if media that is threaded with lies continue to be distributed, another Holocaust may be on the horizon. Society must never forget the Holocaust. Will future children even remember the Holocaust as it really

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