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In order to understand these references, we have to consider the setting of the story. Number the Stars takes place during the Holocaust. People are frightened, being taken away by soldiers, hiding, and running away. Soldiers were rushing the Jews onto trains, into prison camps, and into showers made for death. Falling, stumbling, and tripping would all be natural consequences to being pushed or rushing. These same things might also come as a result of attempting to be really careful and quiet.
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