Books and Movies Reviews

The Red Tent by Anita Diamant

“The Red Tent” by Anita Diamant tells the Biblical story of Dinah, the only daughter in Jacob’s family of four wives and twelve sons. Told from Dinah’s perspective, the book details lives of women and the importance of the’red tent’ at that time. Itteach us timeless lessons of life, love and suffering of woman.
The novel begins with the stories of Dinah’s mothers, the four wives of Jacob: Leah, Rachel, Zilpah, and Bilbah. Although Leah is Dinah’s birth mother, all four teach her lessons and share their gifts. With their help and insight, Dinah grows into a strong, capable woman. Through the novel, we grow with Dinah from her childhood in Mesopotamia through puberty, when she is then entered into’the red tent,’ and well of into her adulthood from Cannan to Egypt. Throughout her journey, we learn how’the red tent’ is constantly looked upon for encouragement, solace, and comfort. It is where a woman goes once a month during their periods, where they have babies, where they dwell in illness and most importantly, where they tell stories, passing on wisdom and spinning collective memories.
With a heart full of advice and wisdom, Dinah matures from a simple-minded young girl to a valiant independent woman. Each of her mothers taught her something different: Rachel taught her to help pregnant women deliver children, Leah taught her to weave and be strong, Bilbah taught her patience and Zilpha taught her to honor the Gods.
Fertility and childbirth were central women’s role in a society at the time of’the red tent’. A woman’s value was determined to a great extent by the number of children she bore, particularly by the number of male children. Jacob, Dinah’s father did not seem to have much of role in her life at all. He barely recognizes her and she is not a part of the measure of his worth that his sons are.
For most of her brothers, Dinah was just another woman in the tents, just another to serve the man. She had a spe…

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