A must read, for women, indeed everyone, is the bestselling novel "The Red Tent" It''s classical story creates in us a depth of yearning to relate to one another ,as has been done for centuries.
Women''s stages of development are celebrated ,not something kept very private and even shameful .Each month,in the red tent the women stayed 3 days sharing their feelings and concerns,away from their daily lives of servience. Even the first blood they shed was precious and sacred.
One is swept up in the joy of having children as well as the pain of childbirth.The midwife''s job is described as almost glorious.Knowledge, of the age old practise, is passed down from one generation to the next,as are customs and recipes.
The main character,Dinah, is presented as mute ,in the bible, so everything about her is ficticious.Still,one can easily relate to and believe in her. She is both strong and vulnerable;vibrant but drab ;youthful but old.
There''s an interesting use of first and thrid person throughout the novel, which adds another dimension to the reading.When Dinah is in fearful situations or looking back,she is used.When talking of feelings and thoughts,I is used. This contributes to the development of her character,adding more depth.
I found it disturbing, after a tragedy, that she leaves behind her heritage. I found myself crying out to her,"No,you must preserve and pass on your knowledge and culture.Don''t cast it aside!"
For many years,she put her early life aside but characters and situations continually appeared to draw her back to what was her own and familiar to her. This came about with her relationship with her husband.Being the romantic,as most women are, I could not help but sigh with relief and smile with joy when she meets and marries.
During that time,she finds the simple joys in life,something many of us forget.Her surroundings,her home,her garden and all that they own, are special.I found myself relaxing ,in response to her simple pleasures and the abiding love she finds.
The use of rich and relevant vocabulary,lures one into the setting of the story.You are there,inside the story.You are Dinah,Jacob,Leah. You are in the desert,searching for plants.You are cooking and preparing food for the men.Your senses explode,so real are the sensations of the characters.
In keeping with life ,now, women congregate,share feelings and experiences.These are regarded with much import. We could learn much from the emotions shared and conversations parlayed by the women in the book.They are the people of the red tent-women with much pride.
The book implores women to share their heritage, encourage pride in our womanhood and stand firm for the ones we love.Love is at the center of it all. Everyone yearns for love.