Hannah in Stages and Places


1 Samuel 1
Biblical Narrative Space
Narrative Art
narrative space

How to Cite

Rembold, S. (2022). Hannah in Stages and Places: An Exploration of Narrative Space in 1 Samuel 1. Old Testament Essays, 35(1), 68–83. Retrieved from https://ote-journal.otwsa-otssa.org.za/index.php/journal/article/view/526


The lack of contributions toward the study of narrative space in biblical literature has been lamented for the last four decades. While handbooks on narratology and narrative art have tried to expand discussions on the presentation and functions of space, many of these expositions of narrative space rely on reducing narrative space to setting, which focuses only on providing a basic background to a given narrative. Though these details are important for establishing where, when and how a character’s actions take place, this article proposes that the characters’ perceptions and experiences in and of places in a story must contribute to the representation of narrative space. The article illustrates this by conducting a synchronic analysis of 1 Samuel 1, focusing mainly on how Hannah, the protagonist, interacts with and in the spaces of the narrative. The study finds that the representation of each place changes according to the phases of Hannah’s journey from childless woman to mother and that these changes are a result of Hannah’s changing behaviour, psychology and interactions with other characters. These results indicate that space should not be reduced to static and matter-of-fact statements about context but that space should be treated as a malleable facet of narrative which characters can shape and transform.




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