Study Guide

The Red Tent What's Up With the Ending?

By Anita Diamant

What's Up With the Ending?

Let's take a look at the ending, shall we?

Blessings on your eyes and on your children, Blessings on the ground beneath you. Wherever you walk, I go with you.
Selah. (3.5.194)

Uh, think "selah" is just another word for Salad? Maybe Sarah? Ooh ooh, like sel-ah-mi? Salami?

All right, so selah is a tough one. Don't worry, it's been a tough one for everyone. Apparently, no one can come up with a totally satisfactory definition of the word. Most likely, it's a kind of liturgical or musical expression, and most people agree that it indicates a pause.

So that makes sense: the book is over, and we get a pause. A pause in life, a pause in death, a pause in Dinah's legacy. It's sweet. But remember, this pause is musical, too, so it's as if Diamant is encouraging us to think of this book as a song—a song about Dinah's life, not just a story about her life. It's poetry.

Oh, yeah—and let's not forget about that elephant in the room, when ghost Dinah slips right into second-person "you." Yeah, that "you" can indicate a lot of things. Dinah could be addressing anyone who reads the book; she could be addressing her son, Re-mose; she could even be addressing a god. We think the "you" indicates that the story is supposed to be timeless. Lots of details about life have changed over the millennia, but Dinah's experiences—love, death, childbirth, community—are universal, and still relevant.