Fiction; some consider it a midrash


The novel is a memoir of Dinah’s life, narrated in the first-person voice. She recounts her life from birth to death, as well as the lives of her mothers. She narrates the prologue as if she were offering her story from biblical times to people of modern, contemporary times.

Point of View 

First-person (Dinah)


Dinah expresses sadness and remorse at how the story of her life has been boiled down to a few footnotes in the Old Testament and wants to share the truth about her life and her family. Her tone also conveys forgiveness for the past and hope for the future.



Setting (time) 

In the time of the Jewish Patriarchs: Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. The time period is somewhere between 1800 and 1500 b.c., also know as the Middle Bronze Age.

Setting (place) 

Haran (modern-day Iraq and Syria), Canaan, Shechem (Israel), and Egypt



Major Conflict 

Dinah is the only daughter of the Jewish patriarch Jacob. When she falls in love with a prince from Shechem, her father refuses to give her hand in marriage unless all the men of Shechem agree to be circumcised and worship Jacob’s god in their temples. They follow his requests, but Dinah’s brothers nevertheless slaughter all the men of Shechem in their sleep, including Dinah’s lover. She curses her family and runs off to Egypt, pregnant.

Rising Action 

Dinah’s growth into adolescence and desire to reach womanhood. Jacob’s growing unrest, even as his family properties increase, causes him to continually seek the bad counsel of his two evil sons, Simon and Levi. As Jacob desires more power and wealth, his judgment fails him.


Dinah’s confrontation with her father about his role in the murder of her husband and her subsequent realization of his guilt. She curses him and her brothers, then walks away from her family, including her mothers, forever.

Falling Action 

Dinah’s escape into Egypt and the months waiting for the birth of her son, Re-mose.


The climax of the novel is heavily foreshadowed, primarily because of the information given in the prologue and the presence of Dinah in the Bible. Additional foreshadowing includes the prediction by her grandmother, Rebecca, the renowned oracle, that some sadness awaits her in life and the frequent references to Simon and Levi’s cruelty, as well as the graphic description of the ceremony to open Dinah’s womb after her first menstruation.