Study Guide

The Red Tent Spirituality

By Anita Diamant


Zilpah isn't the only one who goes cuckoo for gods and goddesses in The Red Tent: everyone goes into it, as spirituality plays a huge role in everyday life in this world. Spirituality is a way that these characters cope with loss or pain, with pain, with happiness and joy. It can also be a weapon: these folks throw out curses like there's no tomorrow. These days, we might see curses as just superstition, but that's not how they were viewed back then. Spirituality was real and powerful, in all its forms.

Questions About Spirituality

  1. What's up with Zilpah's spirituality? Is she superstitious? Is she crazy?
  2. Do the gods and goddesses serve as coping mechanisms? Do they serve as tools to incite fear?
  3. Why is Laban so easily affected by the gods?
  4. Is Dinah a spiritual woman?

Chew on This

Dinah's curses to her brothers are not physically successful, but they still strike guilt in them and so symbolically or metaphorically curse them.

Zilpah's spirituality is a marker of her faith, not her superstition.