The Devil's Arithmetic

The devil's arithmetic

Why was grandpa will upset?

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In Chapter Two, Hannah enters the living room but no one in the family notices. They are gathered around Grandpa Will, who is seated in front of the television. He raises and waves his fist at the TV, which displays images of the Nazi regime and concentration camp victims. He has rolled up his sleeve on his left arm, revealing a number tattooed on it. Uncle Sam turns off the TV as Aunt Eva apologizes. "He's starting again,” whispers Hannah to Aaron.

Hannah cannot remember any time when Grandpa Will had not had such outbursts. When she was younger she had been fascinated by the five-digit number tattooed on his arm. After Aaron's bris, she had taken a blue ballpoint pen and written five digits on her own arm, thinking it would please him. When she showed it to him he had become irate screamed, "Malach ha-mavis" at her, frightening her.