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What do you think that rules provide for us? Safety, or control over the chaotic. What about some rules that deprive freedom, and identity.? In the novel The Devil's Arithmetic, the prisoners in the concentration camps have rules to follow. Although most of the rules come from the camp itself, some also come from prisoners, and others from a ten year-old prisoner girl named Rivka. Both the sets of rules are designed to keep order, warn them, and to help the prisoners survive longer. Even though the rules do have some similarities they also have many differences.

The camp's prisoners learns the camps rules from a variety of people. Some of the rules are from The three fingered women, another from the tattooist, some more are from Rivka, and also from the commandant. The Three fingered Women said, "Shnell" German word for quickly). It is the most important word you can learn. Wheather I say it or the German say it It should be obeyed." The Tattooist said, "you are J197241, remember it.". Rivka said, "Memorize your bowl its dents,its shape, and always remember were you have put it. There are no replacements.". The Commandant said, " You will never answer back or, complain.". The intent of the The Three Fingered Woman's rule that Shnell is to be obeyed was to make the prisoner's do something faster. The intent of The Tattooist rule of memorizing your number was to deprive the prisoner's of their identity. The intent of Rivka's rule of memorizing your bowl and were you put it was to help you survive longer because without the bowl you cannot eat, drink, or bath. The intent of the Commandant rule of not complaining, or talking back because if you talk back you are going to get the butt of a rifle in your face and if you complain you are showing weakness and if you are weak you cannot work and if you cannot work you go into the gas ovens.

The other codex that most of the prisoners follow is that of Rivka's rules. One of Rivka's rules was to never go to the hospital. Another decree is to use your number as an identity. Also never go near a prisoner that has a G(Greek) in their number. The set of laws also includes is to help the little ones into the midden (a garbage dump filled with mostly feces). The intent of the law never go to the hospital is because when you go to the hospital you are weak and when you are weak your go into the gas ovens. The purpose of the rule make your number as an identity is to make a story of yourself using the numbers to give you an identity. The function of the commandment never go near a prisoner with a G(Greek) in their number is because they do not understand the language the will not get the commands fast enough and will go into the ovens because the weren't fast enough and if you are next to them you might get dragged along the way. The direction of the decree to help the little ones into the midden is to help the younger prisoners to survive longer because when the Commandant comes the children shouldn't be there so they have to hide somewhere where not even the German guards would look.

What do think rules are now? Are you feeling fortunate not have to following these rules? I know I am. As you read in the following paragraphs you can plainly see the similarities and differences of the sets of rules.