Literature Study GuidesThe Red TentPart 3 Chapter 3 Summary

The Red Tent | Study Guide

Anita Diamant

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The Red Tent | Part 3, Chapter 3 : Egypt | Summary



Benia brings a beautiful box he made to Nakht-re's house, a gift for Dinah. However, Dinah makes no response to Benia's romantic overture, which upsets Meryt. Dinah still cannot see herself living like other women. Dinah and Meryt continue to work together as midwifes and attend to many births in the area. Dinah has a conflict with a husband who had impregnated his child wife, and she begins to feel restless about her life.

She speaks boldly to a pregnant woman named Ahouri, who expects to miscarry because all her previous pregnancies miscarried. However, Dinah tells the woman she is carrying a son who will be born healthy. Soon after this Dinah helps Ahouri delivery a healthy child.

Re-nefer dies, and Nakht-re asks Dinah if she wants to attend the funeral. Dinah declines, feeling she would not fit in. The following year Nakht-re dies and his house is sold to a new scribe. Although most of the staff stays on, Dinah feels unwelcomed by the new owners. Meryt moves to her son Menna's house, and Dinah comes with her. Menna is a baker in a town near the Valley of the Kings. Meryt praises Dinah's skills as a midwife to Menna and his wife, Shif-re. Soon Meryt and Dinah continue their work as midwifes in the area near their new home.

Meryt finds Benia and arranges for him to visit Menna's house. At the house Benia meets Dinah, and they both feel the same attraction as before. They take a long walk, hold hands, and go to his house, where they make love. Soon after Benia and Dinah have a modest marriage feast with friends.

Dinah loves her life with Benia and enjoys setting up her own household. Benia tells Dinah about how he lost his first wife to a disease. Dinah briefly tells Benia that her husband was murdered but doesn't provide any details. The two comfort each other.


Dinah's recognition of her own power manifests in several ways in this chapter. First Dinah empowers herself through aggressive action toward the husband who causes his young wife and her child to die. Her curse on the man has a powerful effect on him, as did her curse on her family in Part 2, Chapter 8. Dinah tells the man he will die in agony, and soon he becomes seriously ill. Dinah has found inner strength and doesn't hesitate to use it when needed. Also Dinah has established a strong connection to her inner spirituality. She senses the great mother within her, which empowers her to speak words of encouragement to Ahouri. Finally Dinah is empowered through her marriage to Benia. She finds a depth of passion within her she never knew. In addition she feels satisfaction in setting up her own household.

In this chapter Dinah—an independent, married woman—enters a new stage in her life. This is significantly different from the situation of her motherhood in Re-nefer's house. There she was restricted in how she could raise her child. Dinah had to allow her son to be brought up as a "prince of Egypt," and as result she and her son became emotionally distant. However, with her marriage to Benia, Dinah is in charge of her own life, and she discovers the intimacy that comes of relationships of equality. Both have their domains—Benia works as a carpenter and Dinah works as a midwife and takes care of her household. But neither partner is subservient to the other.

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