Book Club Discussion Board > The Red Tent by Anita Diamant

Here is the discussion on Book #5. Please add your thoughts here or on

Start of mtmaxobookclub buffer: Tue Sep 06 22:03:34 2005
[21:15] *** sunshineamyz has been invited to the group chat.
[21:15] *** sunshineamyz has joined the chat.
[21:15] biharika: okay
[21:15] sunshineamyz: hello
[21:16] biharika: should be talk about the book?
[21:16] sunshineamyz: :)
[21:16] biharika: :-)
[21:16] sunshineamyz: I loved it!!!!
[21:16] biharika: so did I
[21:16] biharika: i just re-read it for this chat
[21:16] biharika: it's such an easy read and really draws you in
[21:17] sunshineamyz: yeah she has such a soothing sort of "voice"
[21:17] sunshineamyz: it really draws you in
[21:17] biharika: absolutely... and it was very interesting the life that was around her
[21:17] biharika: very interesting how a rape in the bible is written to not be such in the book
[21:17] sunshineamyz: I am so interested to know how much is 'real' and how much is the author's imagination
[21:17] biharika: YES
[21:18] biharika: absolutely
[21:18] sunshineamyz: when i finished the book i got out the bible and read that section!!
[21:18] biharika: yeah? and?
[21:18] biharika: any thoughts?
[21:18] sunshineamyz: i had to see what it said
[21:18] sunshineamyz: it was really interesting
[21:18] biharika: what did it say?
[21:18] sunshineamyz: bc the author really did take all the characters and events straight from the bible
[21:19] biharika: that's what I thought. The last time I read the bible was in 7th grade.
[21:19] biharika: so my memory is shoddy at best
[21:19] sunshineamyz: but it's so interesting bc of the cultural issues
[21:19] sunshineamyz: yeah I don't think I ever have read much of the old testament at all
[21:19] biharika: Yes and especially when they moved back to Jacob's homeland
[21:19] biharika: the differences b/w the cultures -
[21:19] sunshineamyz: but we have this study bible so practically every word was footnoted
[21:19] sunshineamyz: right and how they were so closed to the differences
[21:20] sunshineamyz: like rebecca, she's isaac's wife right, the oracle
[21:20] biharika: yes
[21:20] biharika: that was weird - is that even in the bible?
[21:20] sunshineamyz: she just casts out her daughter in law and Dinah's cousin just for being different
[21:20] biharika: yeah
[21:20] sunshineamyz: no not in the part I read at all
[21:20] sunshineamyz: now we can see that as just a cultural difference
[21:20] sunshineamyz: but then it was just you are dead to me
[21:21] biharika: i know... unreal
[21:21] sunshineamyz: the whole part about circumcizing all the men in schechem is in the bible too
[21:21] sunshineamyz: the king agrees to it just like in the story
[21:21] biharika: ok - interesting
[21:21] sunshineamyz: you can easily see how many different interpretations there are of things
[21:22] sunshineamyz: the book is almost blasphemous that way
[21:22] biharika: i was thinking the same thing
[21:22] biharika: i wonder if this book insited any uproars when it was first released
[21:22] sunshineamyz: i wondered that too
[21:22] sunshineamyz: i remember it being critically acclaimed
[21:22] biharika: i don't remember hearing anything
[21:22] sunshineamyz: but don't remember uproar
[21:23] biharika: i wondered if b/c the rape was really a small part of the book
[21:23] sunshineamyz: it's like the rolling stones write a song that can vaguely be construed as anti-bush and they are all over the news
[21:23] sunshineamyz: and green day makes a whole album about it and no one says anything
[21:23] biharika: true - there is that
[21:23] biharika: weird isn't it?
[21:24] sunshineamyz: anyway there was another interesting thing in that section of the bible
[21:24] biharika: what was that?
[21:24] sunshineamyz: about a girl of 14 having sex with someone and it's almost the translation that is the problem
[21:24] sunshineamyz: bc the current day people are like oh that is rape etc etc but clearly (if the book is historically accurate and it seems to be) most girls were married then
[21:25] sunshineamyz: let me find the passage
[21:25] biharika: yeah
[21:26] sunshineamyz: ok it is the footnote that bothered me
[21:27] sunshineamyz: "Even after defiling (raping) Dinah (who was about 14 or 15 at this time), Shechem wished to marry her"
[21:27] sunshineamyz: the word the bible uses is defiled
[21:27] biharika: hmmm...
[21:27] sunshineamyz: but the 'study version' equates defiling with rape unequivocly
[21:28] sunshineamyz: nice spelling there, sorry about that!
[21:28] biharika: :-)
[21:28] biharika: so in the bible, it doesn't come across as rape?
[21:28] sunshineamyz: it really is just one sentence
[21:29] biharika: i just found the passage online
[21:29] biharika: but defile could mean b/c they'd had sex before marriage
[21:29] biharika: not rape
[21:29] sunshineamyz: right
[21:30] sunshineamyz: His heart was drawn to Dinah daughter of Jacob and he loved the girl and spoke tenderly to her
[21:30] sunshineamyz: before or after the defilement LOL
[21:31] biharika: but wouldn't it seem stronger if it was a rape to justify the actions of her brothers?
[21:31] sunshineamyz: exactly
[21:31] sunshineamyz: but all kinds of crazy nonsensical things take place in the bible
[21:32] biharika: i'd say in many books... we see quite a bit in the hindu stories as well
[21:32] biharika: but back to an earlier statement of yours... it is interesting how cultural perspectives change
[21:32] sunshineamyz: so maybe it is just this modern day translation of the bible is attempting to make cause and effect
[21:32] sunshineamyz: yes
[21:33] biharika: 14 yr old having is automatically considered statutory rape
[21:33] biharika: but yes, even in recent history many girls were married by then
[21:33] sunshineamyz: and rightly so
[21:33] biharika: Yes! don't disagree with that
[21:34] biharika: my grandmother was
[21:34] sunshineamyz: not arguing but yes it still happens
[21:34] sunshineamyz: even here in the US
[21:34] sunshineamyz: some mormon sects and in some states you only have to be 16 to wed
[21:34] biharika: seems really weird... hell at 36 I'm not married let alone understanding it at 16
[21:35] biharika: LOL
[21:35] sunshineamyz: no doubt
[21:35] biharika: what was really neat to read was how she re-invented herself
[21:35] sunshineamyz: i really liked that part too
[21:35] sunshineamyz: all the places she lived
[21:36] biharika: even though this is fiction, helps the belief that we are given the strength to handle what is dealt to us
[21:36] biharika: YES
[21:36] sunshineamyz: how her son was part of a totally different world
[21:36] sunshineamyz: all her descriptions of places were so vivid too
[21:36] biharika: and also how certain things are transcending b/w cultures
[21:36] sunshineamyz: i really felt like i was there
[21:36] biharika: Most definitely
[21:36] biharika: her ability as a midwife really stood by her in helping her cross the cultural barriers
[21:37] sunshineamyz: absolutely
[21:37] biharika: granted its fiction, i wonder if the author could have made the barriers break w/ another profession
[21:37] sunshineamyz: so interesting about her 4 mothers and the different gifts each gave her
[21:37] sunshineamyz: good question
[21:37] biharika: Oh absolutely - she gained much from each
[21:38] sunshineamyz: so few things you can picture a woman doing then as a profession
[21:38] sunshineamyz: but the woman who was with rebecca, the one they thought was dead and she met again in egypt
[21:38] biharika: yeah - i'm trying to think of an example and I can't
[21:39] sunshineamyz: but what did she do? entertainer sort of messenger sort of
[21:39] sunshineamyz: so many things we do publicly now were all done at home
[21:39] sunshineamyz: baking
[21:39] sunshineamyz: sewing
[21:39] sunshineamyz: weaving even
[21:40] biharika: they were very skilled women
[21:40] biharika: but they had to be self-sufficient
[21:41] sunshineamyz: each family a self-sustaining unit
[21:41] biharika: oh back to the 4 mothers... it helps support the idea that it takes a village to raise a child
[21:41] sunshineamyz: yes
[21:42] sunshineamyz: or a herd of them as the case may be!!
[21:42] biharika: except for the reuben/billah deal; it was interesting to see how the brothers took to different mothers
[21:42] biharika: LOL
[21:42] sunshineamyz: yeah
[21:42] sunshineamyz: it was weird bc i could never before have pictured how a family structure like that would work
[21:43] sunshineamyz: i am no good at sharing
[21:43] sunshineamyz: now i can see that
[21:43] biharika: what was interesting for me was that it took me back to my India days
[21:43] sunshineamyz: in what ways?
[21:43] biharika: there were a lot I could relate to and laughed at b/c it was so real
[21:44] sunshineamyz: the family interactions?
[21:44] sunshineamyz: the gender roles?
[21:44] biharika: well first that struck me was the kids playing
[21:44] biharika: and the break up of groups by age
[21:44] biharika: my dad's side is huge
[21:44] biharika: we did that
[21:44] biharika: we had our little groups
[21:45] sunshineamyz: we did that on my mom's side too
[21:45] biharika: not really any of the taunting that I saw - we used to stay just the summer vacation from school
[21:45] biharika: but yes, some of the family interactions
[21:45] biharika: the men were fed first
[21:45] biharika: children and then the women together at the end
[21:46] biharika: the daughters spent much time throughout the day serving tea and snacks to the uncles
[21:46] biharika: they were family drama but i was always sheltered from it - i felt some of the undercurrents but not really sure what was going on
[21:46] biharika: again - some of it was b/c i was young and mainly b/c we were there for only a short period of time
[21:47] biharika: i think my nuclear family was able to stay away from a lot of it b/c we lived here and not in India
[21:47] sunshineamyz: right
[21:47] biharika: ah and the bride-price and dowry conversation
[21:47] biharika: still real prevelant - unfortunately
[21:47] biharika: but i want start on that one
[21:47] biharika: *won't
[21:48] sunshineamyz: yep
[21:48] biharika: one thing i didn't like or didn't understand was how her son grew to be so distant from her
[21:48] sunshineamyz: i think it's still here in mainstream american culture, just more underground
[21:49] biharika: which piece?
[21:49] sunshineamyz: yes that whole period was sad, watching him get farther and farther away and her retreat into herself more and more
[21:50] biharika: but she did find happiness in the end... that was nice
[21:50] biharika: i'm a sucker for happy endings
[21:50] sunshineamyz: i liked that it came full circle and she was able to see her family again also
[21:50] sunshineamyz: like a fly on the wall really
[21:51] biharika: yeah - she was so disconnected from it all
[21:51] sunshineamyz: the underground wedding piece i mean the symbolic and also real exchange of money between the 2 families around weddings - the engagement ring, the ostentatious receptions
[21:52] sunshineamyz: it was sad too that she never had a daughter of her own
[21:52] sunshineamyz: a real daughter, though she did get some nice adopted ones
[21:52] biharika: yes, like she really wasn't able to pass her stories on
[21:52] sunshineamyz: exactly
[21:52] sunshineamyz: it's a microcosm in her family of what's happened in culture in general
[21:53] sunshineamyz: the stories of women have been lost
[21:53] biharika: Yeah, I got that feeling thru the book that it was a slight reflection about what we've become... the stories are gone.
[21:53] sunshineamyz: there's a clear explanation in her family - she was the only daughter of 4 mothers and she had no daughters
[21:54] biharika: the part about Rebecca's oracle status is gone
[21:54] sunshineamyz: but in the big picture? something to think about i guess
[21:54] biharika: well - i think some indians need to read how important daughters are
[21:54] sunshineamyz: well and clearly when you only get the men's side it's not the whole deal
[21:54] biharika: absolutely
[21:55] sunshineamyz: yeah definitely
[21:55] biharika: not to sidetrack but in India they don't tell parents the sex of their children after an ultrasound
[21:56] biharika: too many people had abortions when they found out they were having a girl
[21:56] biharika: i was floored when i heard that
[21:56] sunshineamyz: when we were kids they'd have a second collection at church for the poor children in china sometimes and my dad used to tell me they'd put baby girls in the garbage and i never believed him
[21:56] sunshineamyz: this was before the 1 child rule
[21:57] biharika: the 1 child rule seems more humane than kids in the garbage
[21:57] sunshineamyz: and then one yr they actually had a picture of it on the envelope you were supposed to put your money in
[21:57] sunshineamyz: i was floored
[21:57] biharika: oh god
[21:57] biharika: i wish i could be shocked
[21:57] biharika: really i do
[21:57] sunshineamyz: i was probably 10
[21:57] sunshineamyz: yeah now as a grown up i'm not
[21:57] sunshineamyz: but as a kid it was a rude awakening
[21:58] biharika: well yeah - w/o a doubt - i would have been too
[21:58] sunshineamyz: i feel like it's pro-con-pro and we can't end on a con
[21:59] sunshineamyz: :)
[21:59] biharika: LOL
[21:59] biharika: absolutely
[21:59] biharika: i loved the fact she found peace at the end... at least i like to think she did
[21:59] biharika: she was happy and proud of her life as a midwife
[21:59] sunshineamyz: me too i think she did and she was able to pass down her midwifery skills so that was good
[22:00] sunshineamyz: and i liked that she didn't just walk away from the chance to be loved
[22:00] biharika: Yes, that's difficult
[22:00] biharika: and especially after all she'd faced in the past
[22:00] biharika: it takes a certain kind of strength to take that chance
[22:00] sunshineamyz: she had such a horrible experience - first her husband-to-be is murdered and then she has to know it's at her family's hand
[22:00] sunshineamyz: and then her son is a stranger to her
[22:01] biharika: yeah - so it would have been natural for to not believe in love
[22:01] sunshineamyz: and she is able to go so many places thru her midwifery
[22:01] sunshineamyz: and not to trust really
[22:01] biharika: Yes - opened a lot of doors
[22:01] biharika: yeah
[22:02] sunshineamyz: I'm sure you are beat from traveling and being out of town so should we call it a night?
[22:02] biharika: I guess its a pro so we can close now
[22:02] biharika: :-) yes, just thinking that
[22:02] sunshineamyz: i do enjoy these discussions even if it's just the 2 of us :)
[22:02] biharika: I'll post this discussion... i loved the book
[22:03] biharika: Yeah - we can only hope it'll grow
[22:03] sunshineamyz: yes definitely one of my favs
[22:03] biharika: good night
[22:03] sunshineamyz: good night
End of mtmaxobookclub buffer: Tue Sep 06 22:03:34 2005

10:09 PM

September 7, 2005 | Unregistered CommenterNikki