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Registered: ‎10-19-2006
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Re: First Impressions

I haven't gotten to that part of the story yet, but I imagine it was loosely referring to ancient Hebrew law in which a woman who considered unclean for a longer period of time after giving birth to a female than a male.

While interesting, I don't, off the top of my head, see any immediate relevance today or any lingering effects from those laws the way I see a connection between women's spaces as nurturing, segregating, and controlling all at the same time.

Though now that you mention it, I wonder if Diamant got any flak for her portrayal of Jews in the story. I heard about a fair number of fundamentalist Christians who took issue with ANY fictionalizing of Biblical stories and figures (since it obviously risks their literalism). But I wonder if it was ever suggested that the book had anti-Semitic tones.

IBIS wrote:
Jesse, what an interesting (and different) perspective you offered in your post. You're right that most of the participants of book clubs are women; and the red tent was viewed as a nurturting and positive symbol.

But I felt uncomfortable about it in some regards. As you pointed out, it could be viewed as a negative--separation of the Other, and within the tent itself, there were social rules, some overt and some very obvious. The red tent itself was exclusive in that no one, no male nor young girls, were allowed inside.

Another rule that came with the red tent, which I first interpreted as a negative was the fact that women who gave birth to a boy-child had to stay in the tent for a month, whereas if she gave birth to a girl-child, she had to stay in the tent twice as long.

I saw it as a negative, a pariah-like separation. As if giving birth to a girl-child meant the mother was twice as unclean, and needed more time to be cleansed.

Many other readers, including Anita herself, saw it as a positive... more time off from her daily labors.

What do you think?


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