Study Guide

The Red Tent Setting

By Anita Diamant

Setting

Mesopotamia

Yep, it really was a mess down in Potamia.

Sorry.

Anyway, Mesopotamia is pretty much modern-day Iraq, and it's where Dinah was born. It's also where we learn all about the daughters of Laban and their marriages to Jacob. This is the original spot of the red tent, the starting line.

Now, Jacob's family was never really going to stay in Mesopotamia, especially with Laban around. Laban owned the land, and he owned his daughters—which means that at some point, Jacob was bound to leave. Though Mesopotamia was rich with livestock and crops to farm, it just wasn't the place for Jacob. He needed his own land, not Laban's.

Dinah spends the first few years of her childhood in Mesopotamia. This is where her mothers pamper her and teach her life skills before they make their trip to Canaan.

Life in Mesopotamia isn't always easy. These characters live in an area very far away from any kind of marketplace or city. Sure, they can venture out for a few days, like when Rachel goes on trips to serve as a midwife, but generally, they're cut off from city life. That means that Dinah doesn't meet many new people. She's just got her fam.

Canaan

Ah, but Canaan is right near the city—and this is where all the bad stuff happens.

You may recognize Canaan as that place where Dinah meets her husband. It's the place with King Hamor and Queen Re-nefer and Prince Shalem. Canaan has a bustling city life (but also rural areas), and at first, Jacob's family is quite content with living there.

But then they let Dinah leave the camp, and that's when everything goes sour. In the city, Dinah meets Shalem, and we all know what happens from there: a wedding proposal, a rebuttal, a lot of circumcisions, and a few murders. Yeah, pretty much sums it up.

Yeah, Dinah doesn't spend too long in Canaan.

Egypt

Egypt is where Dinah lives out the rest of her adult life after her husband is murdered in Canaan. In Egypt, she serves, at first, as a general servant at Nakht-re's household. When Dinah gives birth to her son, Re-mose, he's made into an Egyptian prince, as he's born at Re-nefer's feet.

You could say that Egypt is where Dinah finally finds happiness and peace. It's not all fun and games—she has to live through Nakht-re's and Re-nefer's deaths, and her son leaves her to go to school. But for the most part, Dinah lives a pretty good life in Egypt, becoming pretty famous for being a good midwife.

There are two parts of Egypt that she calls home: the city of Thebes and the Valley of the Kings. In the city of Thebes, Dinah serves Nakht-re and Re-nefer, but in the Valley of the Kings, Dinah lives briefly with her friend Meryt, and then with her new husband Benia. You could say that the Valley of the Kings is like Florida: it's where Dinah goes to retire.

Well, she doesn't exactly retire, since she still works as a midwife, but that's where she finally finds happiness. Dinah is a foreigner in Egypt, but it's where she truly makes herself at home.