Miryam both, conforms and challenges, the patriarchy’s ideas about women. One of the first instances in which Miryam challenges the way in which patriarchy views women takes place when she is speaking with Gidon and he discovers she is an educated woman: “‘Do we not read: ‘The Lord will recompense you for the work you have done’? . . . He starts and stares at her. It is true, a woman of learning is not a common thing, but neither is it entirely unknown” (Alderman 20). This quotation suggests that though Gidon may have heard of women being educated previously he does not expect to encounter one and that his shock is influenced by the cultural expectations of women, that women do not need to be educated in the same manner as men.
When looking at other parts of the “Miryam” chapter, it becomes apparent that the roles of women are relatively restricted to the more traditional roles of wife and mother. Women are considered inferior to men, and, therefore, the men are allowed to take the best as dictated by society. This can be seen when Miryam goes to see her son, Yehoshuah, preach at the temple in Jerusalem: “Miryam did not see him at first, through the crowd—she a woman with children, was kept to the back with the other women” (Alderman 38). In this case the men are given the best pl...
... middle of paper ...
...ase him. Even if a woman does not do anything wrong, her husband could simply make excuses in order to divorce her because it is his word against hers. A woman with an undesirable husband however has no choice but to put up with him, as she has no socially acceptable ways of separating herself from him.
In conclusion the Miryam chapter shows some of the ways in which women of this time period were constrained by the rules of a patriarchal society. Miryam usually seems to have no difficulty conforming or at least pretending to when she does not agree with something. However, Miryam also resists when she decided to see her son in spite of her husband’s wishes, and when she refuses to accept the labels of bad wife and mother that Yosef and society place on her.
Alderman, Naomi. The Liars’ Gospel. New York: Little Brown and Company, 2012. Print.
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