The Red Tent is a novel written by Anita Diamant, which expands on the story of Dinah in the Book of Genesis. The original Bible story is about a young girl who was raped by a prince, and her brothers killed every man in the prince's city-state for it. Diamant's novel expands on the story, and tells it from Dinah's perspective. Her encounter with the prince, for example, is not a rape in Diamant's novel; it was loving and consensual. The story narrates Dinah's life, such as spending time with the women of her family in a red tent designated for their "time of the month."
Bride Price: Jacob demands an outrageous bride price for his only daughter (which Prince Shalem is both willing and able to pay), which sets into motion the unfortunate turn of events that takes place next.
Broken Bird: Rebecca's reason for being so emotionally distant and surrounding herself by white-clad veiled servants all named "Deborah" is The loss of her nursemaid, Deborah
Different In Private: The women act differently in the privacy of the Red Tent than they otherwise do. They are more outgoing, and they serve the goddesses of their homeland (rather than the God of Jacob)
Face Heel Turn: Jacob starts off as a genuinely nice, caring person, but as he gains more and more wealth and status, it kind of goes to his head.
Fair Folk: This is what Zilpah hopes she's carrying: a daughter (perhaps some kind of demi-goddess) who will come out fully-formed and magical. She ends up having twin boys instead, though it almost kills her.
Fanfiction: It's Diamant's take on a Bibical story, portrayed as "the other side of the story")
Fourth Date Marriage: Dinah has just met Prince Shalem, and shortly afterward, they are a married couple.
Gag Penis: Zilpah tells Rachel that Jacob has one of these, to make her afraid to go to the marriage bed so Leah can go instead.
Generation Xerox: After Bilhah is flogged for sleeping with Reuben, she runs away (and is thought to have committed suicide), just like her own Missing Mom.
Good Girls Avoid Abortion: Averted. Ruti induces a miscarriage so as not to give her husband another child (that he'll probably just abuse) and the other women understand her choice.
Hollywood Homely: Leah (described in the Bible as being rather plain compared to Rachel) is considered this because one of her eyes is green and one is blue, something she feels very self-conscious about. Only because people used to tease her about it, and she only displays signs of self-consciousness around men.invoked
Also, years of bearing children and nursing take a toll on her.
Karma Houdini: Dinah's brothers. They get a What the Hell, Hero?, and in The Bible get their inheritance divided, but that's barely a slap on the wrist for destroying a whole village simply because they were worried for their status when their sister got involved with a prince.
The Murder After: Subverted, as Dinah is not the suspect; she at first doesn't know who killed Shalem, but it's revealed that it was her brothers.
My God, What Have I Done?: Jacob, although (in all fairness) he did not directly orchestrate the events surrounding the destruction of the Shechemites. He only requested an outrageous bride price, after his favorite son Joseph suggested having the men circumcised when Simon complained about how "that uncircumcised dog" was lying with Dinah. The rest was all his sons' doing, which he does call them out for.
Even before that, when Leah and Jacob work together to rescue Ruti from being taken away when her husband lost her in a bet. Sure, she gets to stay with her family, but her husband starts treating her even worse than he did before.
No Periods, Period: Averted; menstruation brings the women into the red tent, and brings them together. They regard it as a gift from the goddess Innana, that allows periodic renewal.
No Pregger Sex: Although this is the customary rule, it was averted during Rachel's pregnancy with Joseph.
Parental Incest: Laban molested his daughters (but stopped after his wife punished him severely for it)
Parents as People: Jacob focuses more on his 12 sons than on his daughter, and Leah sometimes loses her patience with Dinah
Poisonous Friend: Jacob becomes corrupt and greedy after he starts listening to Simon and Levi instead of Leah and Reuben.
Polyamory: Just as in the Canon Bible story, but this time portrayed as orchestrated by the girls themselves (not Laban tricking Jacob into marrying his Christmas Cake Leah). Also, Jacob actually does love and care for his wives (well, in the beginning anyway), although Rachel is still his favorite.
Shown Their Work: A lot of research on Ancient Mesopotamia went into this particular novel.
Subverted, however, because Inanna was not a Mother Goddess. Although sometimes invoked for protection during childbirth and for increasing fertility, she was associated with romantic/sexual love and with war, not family and motherhood. Yet here she is portrayed as being The Great Mother.
Also, no record of a Ritual of Opening is known from here. (And considering that Mesopotamian culture was very patriarchal, with women viewed as property to be "purchased" at marriage and their "honor" held as a reflection of their men's honor, it's not likely that such a ritual actually existed there. But It Makes Sense in Context for the purpose of the story.)
Values Dissonance: The women of Padan-Aram, who do the Ritual of Opening and celebrate the New Moon together, contrasted to the women of Canaan, who "prove" their virginity to their in-laws with the bloody sheets of the wedding night and are not familiar with the New Moon rituals. invoked