1 Pages


Woman’s Story Though men-Abraham )-the

I have argued that Genesis 12, 20, and 26 deal with an unacknowledged and unthinkable male fantasy. In the patriarch-matriarch-foreign ruler triangle, the matriarch never becomes a narrative presence. Though addressed by men-Abraham says, "Say you are my sister" (12.13); Abimelech says, "Look, I have given your brother a thousand pieces of silver; it is your vindication ..." (20.16)-the matriarch never speaks and only once is she reported to have spoken (20.5). The woman has no voice in determining her sexual status and no control over how her sexuality is perceived or used. Susan Niditch calls Sarah in Genesis 12 a "tacit accomplice."32 Sharon Pace Jeansonne considers her less an accolnplice than a silent object. 33 In my reading, she is both accomplice and object because she, like the other characters, is a creation of the narrative unconscious. The male fantasy that created her character is not interested in the woman's point ofviewher reaction to Abraham's suggestion, her willingness to be exchanged for her husband's well-being, or her experience in the harem ofa strange man. The question offorce versus consent, crucial for constructing the woman's perspective, is not raised.34